Spotlight: How Justice Reinvestment Helps Law Enforcement in Oregon

October 4, 2019


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.

Oregon: Investing in Law Enforcement Efforts to Use Research-Based Policing Practices

In 2013, Oregon lawmakers passed Justice Reinvestment legislation (House Bill 3194) that created and provided initial funding for the Oregon Center for Policing Excellence (CPE) to develop and deliver training and resources that promote the use of evidence-based policing. In collaboration with the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, CPE developed the Oregon Knowledge Bank, an online resource that highlights innovative and evidence-based policing, corrections, and community supervision programs operating in the state; provides research conducted on Oregon’s criminal justice initiatives; and offers public safety agency profiles.

  • The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission provided $3.46 million in the 2013–2015 biennium for the state police to spend on its crime lab and other programs and $2.5 million in the 2017–2019 biennium across seven counties to fund law enforcement and circuit courts.
  • Since establishing an annual conference on problem-oriented policing in 2015, CPE has held four conferences with approximately 100 law enforcement officers and/or analyst attendees each year.
  • CPE has trained newly promoted public safety supervisors and/or managers on research- informed decision-making since 2014 and public safety professionals and/or behavioral health practitioners with specialized behavioral health training since 2016.
  • CPE has incorporated the Oregon Knowledge Bank into its basic police training and its leadership curriculum. The website had attracted almost 30,000 new visitors by 2017, two years after its development.

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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