By police personnel1
WASHINGTON — On Friday, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced a new collaborative reform initiative through the Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS Office). The initiative will be offered at three levels of assistance and services to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies who wish to bring about reforms within their organization and would like support to do so. Each level of assistance from the initiative is entirely voluntary by the requesting agency, according to the statement.
“The Department of Justice recognizes how much law enforcement officers are asked every day, and we are committed to providing them with the support they need to build the collaboration, trust and legitimacy essential to public safety” , Garland said earlier this month. “The Department’s new collaborative reform initiative will provide our national law enforcement partners with the ability to request assistance from a suite of customizable and targeted tools that will shape their ability to community safety and building community trust.
The initiative will consist of three programs that aim to build trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve; improve operational efficiency and effectiveness; improve the safety and well-being of officers; developing and disseminating promising and innovative evidence-based public safety practices.
The COPS office described the three levels of support as follows:
The lowest level of support is the continuation of the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC). Established in 2017, CRI-TAC provides a wide range of targeted technical support services. Through CRI-TAC’s “by the field, for the field” approach, the DOJ can facilitate short-term, customizable technical assistance on more than 60 topics. These topics range from gun violence reduction and prevention, to officer safety and well-being, to community engagement. Subject matter experts in the field design tailor-made solutions in collaboration with each agency to meet their individual needs.
Mid-level support is an updated critical response program. A law enforcement agency experiencing a high profile event or other special circumstance, and determines that it may require assistance, may contact the COPS office for assistance. Like CRI-TAC, this program is customizable and provides flexible assistance to law enforcement agencies in a variety of ways. Once an agency connects to the DOJ, tools will be in place to offer support ranging from after-action reviews to peer-to-peer exchanges, data analysis and recommendations, to facilitating discussions with experts. .
The final and most robust level is an updated organizational assessments program. This program will offer in-depth assessments on systemic issues. Under this program, areas of reform will be addressed with timely, ongoing and actionable advice. Participating agencies will receive the technical assistance they need to accomplish the reforms as they are identified. To help ensure transparency and accountability, the DOJ will also regularly report the status of its efforts to the public. This level of support is intensive; it is designed to transform the operation of a law enforcement agency and its relationship with the community. This program is a voluntary opportunity for an agency that knows it needs to make change and wants to make change.
Learn more about the collaborative reform initiative and the options above here.