1: The Office of Justice Programs

Since 1984 the Office of Justice Programs has provided federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, improve the criminal and juvenile justice systems, increase knowledge about crime and related issues, and assist crime victims.

OJP is led by an Assistant Attorney General, who is responsible for overall management and oversight of OJP. The AAG sets policy and ensures that OJP policies and programs reflect the priorities of the President, the Attorney General, and the Congress.

The AAG promotes coordination among the bureaus and offices within OJP. Five bureaus - the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime - administer federal grant, training and technical assistance, research, and statistics programs.

OJP also includes program offices that administer specific programs, including those authorized by the 1994 Crime Act. These offices include the Violence Against Women Office, the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, the Corrections Program Office, the Drug Courts Program Office, the Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness

Support, the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education, and the American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Office.

THE OJP BUREAUS

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides funding, training, and technical assistance to state and local governments to combat violent and drug-related crime and help improve the criminal justice system. It administers the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants, State Criminal Alien Assistance, Public Safety Officers' Benefits, Regional Information Sharing Systems, and other grant programs.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is the principal criminal justice statistical agency in the nation. BJS collects and analyzes statistical data on crime, criminal offenders, crime victims, and the operations of justice systems at all levels of government. It also provides financial and technical support to state governments in developing state capabilities in criminal justice statistics and improving criminal history records.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the principal research and development agency in the Department of Justice. NIJ supports research and development programs, conducts demonstrations of innovative approaches to improve criminal justice, develops and tests new criminal justice technologies, evaluates the effectiveness of justice programs, and disseminates research findings to practitioners and policymakers. NIJ also provides primary support for the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, a clearinghouse of criminal justice-related publications, articles, videotapes, and online information.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provides federal leadership in preventing and controlling juvenile crime and improving the juvenile justice system at the state and local levels. OJJDP provides grants and contracts to states, local communities, and Indian tribes to help them improve their juvenile justice systems and sponsors innovative research, demonstration, evaluation, statistics, and technical assistance and training programs to improve the nation's understanding of and response to juvenile violence and delinquency. OJJDP also administers the Missing and Exploited Children's program, four programs funded under the Victims of Child Abuse Act, and the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) provides federal funds to support victim assistance and compensation programs nationwide, and advocates for the fair treatment of crime victims. OVC administers grants for programs designed to benefit victims, provides training for diverse professionals who work with victims, develops projects to enhance victims' rights and services, and undertakes public education and awareness activities on behalf of crime victims. OVC's mission is to enhance the nation's capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime.

THE PROGRAM OFFICES

OJP has three offices that administer major programs authorized by the 1994 Crime Act:

The following offices are also located within OJP:

Six offices within OJP provide agency-wide support. They are the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs (OCPA), the Office of General Counsel (OGC), the Office of Administration (OA), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of Budget and Management Services (OBMS), and the Office of the Comptroller (OC). Also, the American Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs Office (AI/AN) improves outreach to federally recognized Indian tribes.

OJP'S FY 1999 BUDGET

Since enactment of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, OJP's annual budget, which includes funding for the Public Safety Officers' Death Benefits and the Crime Victims Fund, has grown from $1.1 billion in 1995 to $3.7 billion in 1999. The FY 1999 budget includes $3.4 billion in direct appropriations and $324 million from the Crime Victims Fund, which is financed by collections of fines, penalty assessments, and bond forfeitures from defendants convicted of federal crimes. In addition, OJP administered $405 million from other Justice Department accounts through reimbursable agreements. Overall, in FY 1999 OJP managed over $4.1 billion. The chart on the opposite page provides details on OJP's FY 1999 appropriations.

THE OJP REORGANIZATION

In making appropriations for FY 1999, Congress directed OJP and the Justice Department to develop a plan for a new organizational structure for OJP that would explore the consolidation and streamlining of agency programs and activities. A major goal of the restructuring project was to craft an organizational plan that would be responsive to principles of good government and sound management.

In March 1999, the Justice Department submitted a plan to Congress for creating a centralized organizational structure that would clarify lines of authority and eliminate duplication and overlap in OJP functions. Under the existing organizational structure, OJP's program and administrative bureaus and offices operate to a great degree as a network of independent agencies, with related, but distinct, functions, missions, and competencies, which share a common infrastructure. The goal of the new organizational structure is to create a centrally administered agency comprised of coherent components, with distinct functions and competencies, which share a common mission.

In the report accompanying FY 2000 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary, Congress endorsed the principles of reorganization set out in OJP's March 1999 plan. OJP and the Justice Department are currently working with Congress to implement the principles of the reorganization plan.

SHARING INFORMATION WITH THE FIELD

The resources and national perspective of the federal government give it a unique role in sharing knowledge about crime and justice. An important part of OJP's mission is reaching out to state and local justice officials, practitioners, and researchers to spread state-of-the-art knowledge and programs nationwide.

In FY 1999, OJP continued to support the operation of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, which supports the information dissemination efforts of all OJP bureaus and offices, as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy. NCJRS maintains a library of more than 145,000 documents, available in print and through the Web at www.ncjrs.org. The NCJRS toll-free hotline at 1-800/688-4252 provides access to reference specialists who conduct individualized research and provide copies of publications. In FY 1999, NCJRS responded to more than 300,000 telephone requests and distributed nearly 8 million documents. The NCJRS Website received over 3.5 million hits, and NCJRS staff responded to more than 40,000 e-mail requests for information.

OJP has also worked to streamline administrative requirements for its grantees, while simultaneously ensuring sound management of funded programs. OJP is a pioneer among federal grantmaking agencies in developing seamless automated systems and Web-based grant management systems. For example, the Office of the Comptroller, responsible for financial management of OJP's federal grants, operates a phone-activated payment system for grantees, operates a toll-free hotline for grant questions, and conducts a nationwide training program for grantees. In FY 1999, the Office of the Comptroller assisted 25,000 callers, trained more than 4,000 individuals in financial management, and revised the plain English version of the OJP Financial Guide, available online.

OJP continued to support the Department of Justice Response Center in FY 1999. The Response Center is staffed by specialists who answer questions and provide information about Justice Department funding programs, including all OJP and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office funding programs. Center staff also can provide copies of program solicitations, guidelines, and other documents.

Back to OJP FY 99 Annual Report 10: Countering Terrorism & Ensuring Domestic Preparedness - OJP FY 99 Annual Report

10: Countering Terrorism & Ensuring Domestic Preparedness

Until recently, terrorism was a federal matter, not a concern for state and local governments. But events in the past decade have shown that terrorists have the will and the capability to conduct attacks within the United States. The bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and the Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta highlight the threats faced by American communities.

The use of sarin, a nerve agent, in Japan in 1995 further demonstrated the deadly consequences of a terrorist attack involving a highly toxic material. The need to prepare for incidents involving weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological, and radiological threats - is very real.

In recent years, Congress and the Administration have placed a major emphasis on preparing this nation to respond to terrorism within its borders. The burden of responding to domestic terrorism, especially in the critical few hours after an event occurs, falls initially on state and local emergency response agencies. OJP is working to give local police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel the training and equipment they need to respond effectively to terrorist emergencies. At the same time, OJP is working with states and local communities to plan their responses to terrorism, and test these plans by conducting realistic training exercises.

TRAINING FIRST RESPONDERS

Most often, local police and firefighters are the first on the scene of incidents of terrorism or other catastrophes. To help first responders prepare, OJP's Office for State and Local Domestic Preparedness Support (OSLDPS) has established several training programs. OJP's Center for Domestic Preparedness at Fort McClellan, Alabama provides a unique environment and opportunity to offer specialized advanced training in managing incidents of domestic terrorism, involving chemical agents and other toxic substances. Beginning in FY 1998, the Army base at Fort McClellan is being converted from military to civilian use. The Justice Department is using the chemical defense training facilities at Fort McClellan to train first responders in a contaminated environment using "live agents" - actual toxic substances. Such facilities are invaluable in both providing training on the use of specialized equipment and in providing the confidence gained by being able to have operated in an actual contaminated environment.

The Center for Domestic Preparedness is one of five facilities comprising the Consortium for Domestic Preparedness. The other institutes are the National Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; National Center for Bio-Medical Research and Training at Louisiana State University; National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at Texas A&M; and National Exercise, Test, and Training Center, Nevada Test Site.

The members of the consortium offer specialized training to address different types of threats. For example, the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) conducts training using live chemical and agents, while the training center at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology offers training in responding to events where explosive devices have been used.

OSLDPS also supports training for law enforcement in conjunction with the National Sheriffs' Association, and training for firefighters in conjunction with the National Fire Academy.

BJA offers training to law enforcement officers and prosecutors on detecting, preventing, and responding to domestic terrorism. The State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training addresses detecting and investigating violent, extremist criminal activity.

EQUIPPING LOCALITIES

OJP provides funding to state and local jurisdictions to enable these jurisdictions to purchase the specialized equipment needed to respond to terrorist incidents involving the use of weapons of mass destruction. In FY 1999, OSLDPS awarded funds to the nation's 157 largest jurisdictions to provide a basic defensive capability to respond to domestic terrorism incidents. OSLDPS also provided funds to each of the 50 states for equipment purchases and planning efforts. The funds are being used to purchase certain types of emergency response equipment needed by fire services, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response units, and law enforcement agencies to respond to a terrorist incident involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or explosive or incendiary devices. Types of equipment purchased through the program include protective suits, decontamination showers, equipment to detect chemical, biological, and radiological threats, and interoperable communications equipment to allow firefighters, law enforcement, HAZMAT teams, and emergency medical personnel to coordinate their efforts.

As part of the FY 1999 State Domestic Preparedness Equipment Program, states are required to conduct individual needs and risk assessments and, using the information gathered, develop individual state strategies addressing issues of training, equipment, and technical assistance in domestic preparedness support. Future equipment funding will be distributed in accordance with these state strategies.

PLANNING A RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

During FY 1999, OSLDPS undertook a major nationwide needs assessment aimed at providing a view of emergency response requirements across the nation. The first phase of this assessment focused on needs at the national level. OSLDPS is currently focusing in more detail at the state and local levels. These assessments will result in detailed information for each of the 50 states. To assist states in completing this project, OSLDPS is providing both planning grants and technical assistance, including assessment tools and instruments.

OSLDPS is working closely with other federal agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FBI to help city, county, and state emergency managers, law enforcement officers, and public health officials pinpoint vulnerabilities and develop plans for countering terrorism. The assessment results will serve not only as a roadmap for program planning, but also as a benchmark for measuring program effectiveness.

As a tool in the planning process, OJP and other federal agencies routinely support local domestic preparedness exercises. Real life situational exercises provide valuable training and learning experiences for emergency response personnel, public officials, and others involved in responding to weapons of mass destruction incidents. In FY 1999, Congress directed the Administration to conduct an exercise that involves all key personnel - federal agency personnel and state and local emergency responders, including law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical personnel - who would participate in the crisis and consequence management of a domestic weapons of mass destruction terrorist attack. The goal of the exercise, called "TOPOFF" because of the involvement of top officials, is to assess the nation's crisis and consequence management capacity under extraordinarily stressful conditions. Consistent with legislative recommendations, the TOPOFF exercise will simulate a chemical and a biological attack.

The exercise scenarios will enable top officials and relevant personnel to practice different courses of action, gain and maintain situational awareness, and assemble appropriate resources. Mayors, city managers, state governors and local and state personnel will be key participants and play active roles throughout the exercise.

In May 1999, OJP convened a TOPOFF planning conference with more than 150 state and local emergency response experts and planners from across the country. The group discussed criteria for the selection of sites, inclusion of state and local representatives, exercise management and control, evaluation structure, policy implications of the federal response, and public affairs issues.

At the direction of Congress, the exercise will be conducted without advance notice to participants. Specific dates and characteristics of the exercise are being withheld from participants who will be responding as they would in a real-life situation. Updates will be available on the Website.

USING TECHNOLOGY AGAINST TERRORISM

In FY 1999, Congress appropriated $10 million for domestic anti-terrorism technology development. NIJ is working with several research partners on a variety of projects. One such project is a chemical agent sensor system designed to protect subway systems in the event of a terrorist attack. The system is designed to sense the presence of chemical agents in less-than-lethal concentrations in sufficient time to allow for response and evacuation. This system is currently being tested by a transit authority in a major metropolitan area. Also in development are technologies that screen for concealed weapons and explosives and improvements to methods for disabling explosive devices.

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