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Civilian Staff in Policing: An Assessment of the 2009 Byrne Civilian Hiring Program, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2013
12 pages
This is the executive summary of a report that presents the results of a NIJ-funded national analysis of the Byrne Civilian Hiring Program and its effects on law enforcement agencies and crimes, as well as the state of civilianization in policing.
This analysis shows that grant recipients have made good use of the Byrne funds by retaining civilians that might have otherwise been laid off in a time of shrinking budgets for local and State public services. In addition, new civilians have been hired to do work that has expanded the range of tasks performed by civilians. These tasks encompass information technology, crime analysis, intelligence, human resources, and media relations. In order to assess the effects of the civilian work force among grantees compared with non-grantees, the study compared the crime rates in jurisdictions of Byrne grantees with those of non-Byrne grantees. Although crime declined for both Byrne and non-Byrne agencies, the analysis did not find any greater decline in jurisdictions receiving Byrne; however, the research produced anecdotal evidence about ways in which the Byrne grants improved police operations in ways that may have contributed to crime reductions. The study combined a variety of research methods, including a national survey on the use of civilians in policing; interviews with agencies that hired or retained civilians through the Byrne program; an analysis of crime rates among Byrne grantees and matched control agencies; and case studies of innovative uses of Byrne funding. Site visits were made to four agencies that had extensively and successfully used civilian personnel.

Date Published: December 1, 2013