Spotlight: How Justice Reinvestment Helps Law Enforcement in Oklahoma

October 4, 2019

Background

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.

Oklahoma: Funding Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Reduce Violent Crime

Oklahoma state policymakers created the Safe Oklahoma Grant Program in 2012 to fund law enforcement-led strategies to reduce violent crime as part of the state’s Justice Reinvestment legislation, House Bill 3052. The grant program provides funding to target five key areas related to violent-crime prevention: implementing evidence-based policing strategies, increasing technological capacity to support crime prevention, improving analytical capacity, engaging with community partners, and providing victim services.

  • Oklahoma awarded more than $10 million to 46 local law enforcement agencies across the state between 2012 and 2018 as part of the Safe Oklahoma Grant Program.
  • Oklahoma City received funding to implement proactive policing strategies and nuisance abatement activities and develop community partnerships in a high-crime target area.
  • The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations reported greater reductions in crime in the target area (-21.6 percent) than in Oklahoma City overall (-6.5 percent) between 2013 and 2016.

For more information on how JRI has helped law enforcement in states across the country, see JRI: Helping Law Enforcement Keep Communities Safe.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-ZB-BX-K001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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