Every law enforcement agency faces a unique combination of public safety challenges, such as addressing rising violent crime rates and serving as first responders to people experiencing a mental health crisis or overdose. To respond effectively, law enforcement agencies need to collect, analyze, and utilize data in actionable ways that support strategies to prevent crime and apprehend people who commit crimes. They also need access to the latest research on evidence-based policing practices and the training to implement them.
One way states have helped law enforcement agencies tackle these challenges is through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts. JRI provides technical assistance to states to analyze data and understand key criminal justice challenges, including violent crime, substance use and mental health disorders, and high recidivism rates; develop policies and practices; and plan budgets accordingly to reduce crime and recidivism, improve responses to behavioral health challenges, and increase public safety.
Missouri: Providing Law Enforcement with Tools to Reduce Violent Crime and Improve Data Collection and Reporting
Missouri enacted Justice Reinvestment legislation, House Bill 1355, in 2018 to provide funding and technical assistance to help local law enforcement agencies reduce violent crime, increase community-based treatment for people in the criminal justice system who have substance use and mental health disorders, and increase support for victims, among other measures. The state developed a grant program to provide financial and technical assistance to create or improve local law enforcement pilot programs that support training opportunities, build analytical capacity and data system upgrades to NIBRS, and enhance community policing efforts. To ensure the grant program meets the needs of local law enforcement, by the end of 2019, Missouri will have
- Surveyed all police chiefs and sheriffs’ offices statewide to identify barriers to evidence- based, data-driven violent crime reduction efforts and how the state can help address them;
- Completed seven regional focus groups with sheriffs, police chiefs, and supervisors from across the state to learn more about the needs of law enforcement and identify what the grant funding can do to support their communities; and
- Provided $175,000 in initial grant funding using information gained from the survey and focus groups to support training, enhance use of data, and strengthen policing practices.
For more information on how JRI has helped law enforcement in states across the country, see JRI: Helping Law Enforcement Keep Communities Safe.
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