FACT SHEET: SUPPORTING STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2001 – 2008
"We are a country built on the rule of law, and our Nation is grateful to the men and women who enforce those laws and uphold the fairness and peace we treasure." – President George W. Bush
For the last eight years, the Department of Justice has provided innovative leadership to federal, state, local and tribal justice systems, disseminating state-of-the-art knowledge and practices, and providing grants for their implementation. The Department has supported law enforcement agencies at all levels as they adapt to new challenges in public safety, including threats to the homeland posed by terrorists and transnational crimes such as human trafficking and cybercrimes. The Department's leadership and support in areas such as information sharing, DNA and forensics, and intelligence-led policing are preparing law enforcement to meet the demands of a global enforcement community. By promoting these state and local partnerships, the Department ensures that everyone works together towards a common goal: reducing crime and supporting programs that enrich communities and protect citizens.
Since September 11, 2001, there have been no successful terrorist attacks launched within the United States thanks largely to the work of law enforcement at all levels. The Department recognizes that one of the most efficient and effective means of fighting terrorism is to communicate, coordinate, cooperate and strengthen our partnerships with state, local and tribal governments to ensure the safety of all Americans.
State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) Program
- The primary focus of the SLATT program is to provide pre-incident terrorism awareness training to state, local, and tribal law enforcement. Since the program's inception, SLATT has trained more than 86,600 officers in 895 events around the country. In 2008, the Department delivered specialized anti-terrorism training to 10,525 federal, state, local and tribal officers in more than 112 events around the country.
- In 2008, in response to the concern about safety on our college and university campuses, SLATT developed a new workshop curriculum focused on terror prevention on campus.
- In addition, over 198,821 officers received terrorism prevention information from graduates of SLATT's Train-the-Trainer Program.
Enhancing Justice Information Sharing
- In 2003, the Attorney General endorsed the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan developed by the Global Intelligence Working Group and is a blueprint for intelligence sharing.
- In 2005, the Department developed the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) to enable information exchanges beyond the Justice community. NIEM provides a mechanism to define data exchange standards for information that is commonly shared across the justice, public safety, emergency management, intelligence and homeland security communities. NIEM also supports sharing of information between partners who are traditionally divided by separate standards development activities and funding streams, but have a critical need to collaborate to respond to emerging threats, combat crime and improve the administration of justice, and ensure the ongoing safety of citizens.
- In 2008, the Department developed and deployed the Regional Information Sharing Systems Officer Safety Event Deconfliction System (RISSafe) which stores and maintains data on planned law enforcement events with the goal of identifying and alerting affected agencies and officers of potential conflicts.
Communications Technology (CommTech)
The Department's CommTech initiative assists law enforcement agencies in communicating across agency and jurisdictional boundaries. In partnership with other federal agencies and associations, CommTech focuses on many aspects of first responder communications operability and interoperability. Through the Department's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) system, the Department actively responds to communications technology assistance requests from public safety officials across the country.
- The Department has supported advance planning and emergency response for major events and disasters, including interoperability assistance for the 2001 and 2005 Presidential Inaugurations, hurricane response, and the trial of September 11th conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.
- The Department assisted the U.S. Park Police and more than 30 law enforcement agencies and 600 officers at the 2004 dedication of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall which attracted more than 40,000 people.
- In 2007, the Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) provided $3.6 million for the creation of a Communications Technologies Center of Excellence to provide a means for testing, evaluating and demonstrating communications tools and technologies. The Center is establishing and managing a law enforcement wireless pilot project, supporting a communications technology working group, and providing specialized communications technology assistance to law enforcement when needed.
Keeping Neighborhoods Safe from Gun, Gang, and Violent Crimes
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN)
Established in 2001, PSN is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by building on existing local programs that target gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful. In 2006, the Attorney General expanded PSN to target gang crime as well.
- The Administration has committed more than $1.5 billion to this effort since PSN's inception. Funding has been used to hire new federal and state prosecutors, support investigators, provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, deter juvenile gun crime, and develop and promote community outreach efforts as well as to support other gun violence reduction strategies.
- Through PSN, each of the 93 U.S. Attorney's Offices has developed a gun and gang crime reduction plan. Through the initiative, the Department has doubled the number of gun prosecutions over the last eight years compared to the preceding eight year period, taking thousands of additional dangerous criminals off the streets.
Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI)
In May 2006, the Attorney General launched the CAGI, which focuses on reducing gang activity through coordinated prevention, enforcement and reentry efforts in targeted sites across the country.
- CAGI has targeted resources for prevention, enforcement and offender re-entry efforts to Los Angeles, Tampa, Cleveland, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Milwaukee and the "222 Corridor" that stretches from Easton to Lancaster in Pennsylvania. Following the success of the initiative in those areas, the Department expanded the initiative in 2007 to include Indianapolis; Oklahoma City; Rochester, N.Y. and Raleigh/Durham, N.C. In 2008, Chicago and Detroit were the 11th and 12th sites to be funded under CAGI.
- The Department has awarded a total of $30 million since the program's inception to help support law enforcement strategies that focus efforts on each target area's most violent gangs, such as MS-13, 18th Street, Latin Kings, Crips, and Bloods.
Targeting Violent Crime Initiative (TVCI)
- In 2007, the Department launched the TVCI and provided 106 awards totaling nearly $75 million to 103 state, local or tribal law enforcement agencies. Nearly all of these agencies are using the funds to develop or maintain a multijurisdictional, intelligence-led policing approach to violent crime in coordination with a federal law enforcement agency or agencies.
- In February 2008, these agencies began providing monthly reports documenting their TVCI activities. As of September 2008, TVCI outcomes include more than 10,000 violent felony arrests, more than 29,000 non-violent felony arrests and more than 600 gangs disrupted.
Weed and Seed
The Weed and Seed strategy is a community-based collaborative approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization. Weed and Seed provides a platform for Administration priorities including PSN, ex-offender reentry initiatives, drug control, the Anti-Gang Initiative, White House Faith-based initiative, Public Housing Safety initiative and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA).
- The Community Capacity and Development Office (CCDO) awarded 1,885 Weed and Seed grants totaling more than $409 million between 2001 and 2008. During the same period, participation increased from 250 to 320 sites nationwide.
- In the past three calendar years the overall proportion of a jurisdiction's serious crime that occurs in Weed and Seed sites as compared to the overall jurisdiction has decreased. In 2006, for example, the proportion of homicides decreased by 2.6 percent, drug crime by 4 percent and weapons offenses by 4.1 percent. Preliminary 2007 data shows a full percentage point reduction in the overall proportion of crime and a 7.6 percent reduction in the number of crimes from 2006 to 2007.
Combating Human Trafficking
Under the leadership of President Bush, the Administration has taken unprecedented efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking. The Justice Department, along with federal, state and local partners, plays a key role in battling this deeply troubling, violent and often hidden crime. These efforts include:
- In 2004, the Department created a curriculum for law enforcement aimed at the identification of trafficking and its victims and began an anti-human trafficking task force initiative that now includes 41 multi-agency, multi-disciplinary Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces in two territories, 22 states, and the District of Columbia.
- The Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) initiated several efforts to address the lack of information on the scope and characteristics of human trafficking. In 2006 and 2007, BJS published Federal Prosecution of Human Trafficking, 2001-2005 and Federal Prosecution of Child Sex Exploitation Offenders, 2006 which provide data to better understand federal criminal case processing activities on human trafficking offenses and child sex offenses, including sex transportation, sexual abuse and child pornography.
Protecting Communities from Dangerous Sex Offenders
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program
An integral component of the Department's Project Safe Childhood initiative, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force program supports law enforcement's efforts to prevent, investigate, and stop computer-facilitated child sexual exploitation. The Task Forces have become regional centers of technical and investigative expertise offering both prevention and investigative services to youth, parents, educators, law enforcement, and others working on child sexual exploitation issues.
- Since the program's inception, the Task Forces have reviewed nearly 200,000 complaints, resulting in the arrest of almost 10,500 individuals across the country intent on sexually victimizing children.
- The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has awarded more than $93 million to state and local law enforcement agencies to form new ICAC task forces in their regions. Currently, there are ICAC task forces in all 50 states and a total of 59 ICAC task forces nationwide.
National Sex Offender Public Registry
In 2005, the Department developed the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Web site, http://www.nsopr.gov, a national search site that provides real-time access to public state and territory sex offender registries utilizing a single interface.
Sex Offender Registration and Notification
Protecting children from all forms of crime is an essential mission for the Administration. On July 27, 2006, the President signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act which created the Department's Office of Sex Offender Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). The SMART Office is responsible for carrying out Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). These provisions significantly enhance the ability of state, local and tribal governments to respond to crimes against children and vulnerable adults and prevent sex offenders who have been released back into the community from victimizing other people.
- On July 1, 2008, the Attorney General released the final guidelines for SORNA. The guidelines detail who must register as sex offenders, how long they must register, the type of information they must disclose, how frequently and under what circumstances they must update that information and how these requirements should be enforced.
- In 2007, the Department established the Support for Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant Program to assist communities in developing and/or enhancing programs designed to implement the requirements of SORNA. In FY 2007, the SMART Office awarded more than $11 million to support various projects across the United States. In FY 2008, the SMART Office provided more than $4 million in direct grant assistance to further these efforts along with continued support through training and technical assistance.
- Also in 2007, the SMART Office developed several web-based software resources to assist jurisdictions in implementing the registry requirements of SORNA. These resources were made available to jurisdictions in July 2008 and include the National Sex Offender Public Registry Exchange Site; mapping and geo-coding in which jurisdictions will have free services that will allow them to geo-code addresses to enable SORNA-required geographic radius searches for sex offenders; a Community E-mail Notification System; E-mail Address Search System; and templates which tribes and federal territories can use to create a unique tribe/territory-specific sex offender registry web site.
Child Sexual Predator Program
In 2008 the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) awarded $9.9 million in grants to support partnerships between state or local government agencies and their district United States Attorney's Office that focus on reducing child endangerment. The funds were awarded to 23 state and local agencies under the Child Sexual Predator Program and will help officials locate, arrest, and prosecute child sexual predators, and enforce state sex offender registration laws.
Protecting Children from Abduction
The AMBER Alert system is an essential tool law enforcement officers have to help recover missing children. In 2001 only four states had AMBER Alert plans in place. Today, all 50 states have statewide AMBER Alert plans, creating a network of systems nationwide to aid in the recovery of abducted children.
- Following the first ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children in October 2002, the President designated the OJP Assistant Attorney General as the National AMBER Alert Coordinator.
- Tribal nations are also working to develop plans tailored to children in Indian country. More than 90 percent of the 426 AMBER Alert recoveries have occurred since AMBER Alert became a nationally coordinated effort.
Supporting Public Safety Officers
Volunteers in Police Service Program (VIPS)
Launched in 2002, VIPS enhances the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) manages the VIPS Program in partnership with and on behalf of, the White House Office of the USA Freedom Corps and OJP. Volunteers for law enforcement agencies provide support to sworn and civilian employees, allowing paid staff to concentrate on law enforcement and homeland security functions. Since its inception, the program has created a wide range of Web, print and electronic resources for volunteers, volunteer program managers or those seeking to establish a volunteer program.
- To date, the VIPS Web site has received more than 30 million hits, and serves more than 1,750 registered law enforcement programs.
- Through VIPS, more than 140,000 people are volunteering with law enforcement agencies. In 2007, these volunteers contributed more than seven million hours at a value of more than $140 million to their law enforcement agencies, communities, and fellow citizens.
- Fifteen of these volunteers have been recognized by President George W. Bush through the President's Volunteer Service Award Program.
Body Armor Safety Initiative
In November 2003, the Attorney General announced the Body Armor Safety Initiative in response to concern from the law enforcement community about the effectiveness of body armor then in use.
- In response, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) initiated a study into the use of Zylon body armor, and issued a subsequent Body Armor Standard Advisory Notice to alert law enforcement to the potential risks associated with the use of Zylon body armor. NIJ also provided new interim safety requirements for its body armor compliance testing program.
- To assist law enforcement with the vest replacement needs, the Department made an additional $10 million available through the FY 2005 Bulletproof Vest Partnership program. In July 2008, NIJ announced the new performance standard for body armor that includes more rigorous testing and methods that expose body armor to temperature, humidity, and wear and tear prior to testing the performance.
NIJ has awarded $16.4 million in grants between fiscal years 2001 – 2008 to several research entities to study a broad range of less lethal weapons issues and to develop new technologies. The goal of the NIJ's less-lethal program is to provide law enforcement and corrections officers with equipment that protects them and the public, reducing the possibility of injury or death.
Medal of Valor
Public safety officers risk their lives each day to protect American citizens and communities. To honor that commitment, the President signed into law the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Act of 2001, which created the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor. The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest national award for a public safety officer and is awarded by the President.
Each year, the Department received hundreds of applications from public safety agencies, including law enforcement, fire and emergency services and federal agencies. Since the program's inception, 41 medals have been awarded nationwide.
Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program
The PSOB program provides death benefits in the form of a one-time financial payment to eligible survivors of public safety officer whose deaths are the direct and proximate result of personal injury sustained in the line of duty. The program also provided benefits to public safety officers who are permanently and totally disabled because of injuries sustained in the line of duty. The foundation of the PSOB Program is that the Justice Department and public safety agencies throughout the country are prepared to help the loved ones of fallen officers move forward in the aftermath of tragedies.
- In May 2008, the Department released the Attorney General's Guide to the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act.
- Investigated and closed 233 public safety officer death claims, a figure which does not include disability or family educational benefit claims, or claim appeals. This is an increase over the 195 cases handled in 2007.
Reducing Crime in Indian Country and Supporting Tribal Law Enforcement
Over the last eight years, the administration has performed unprecedented and groundbreaking initiatives in fighting crime and supporting law enforcement in Indian Country. Some of these initiatives include:
- In 2006, OJP launched a new Web site created specifically for Indian Country – www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov. The Web site serves as a comprehensive resource, featuring information on law enforcement, corrections, crime victim issues, juvenile justice, and civil rights. It also provides information on grants, training, technical assistance and conferences that can be of assistance to Tribal communities, federal agencies and the general public.
- In 2006, OJP spearheaded the first interdepartmental training and technical assistance session and government-to-government outreach session with Tribal leaders on justice and safety policy and grant issues impacting Indian country. In August 2007, as part of the fourth session, OJP supported the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's national Tribal methamphetamine summit. To date there have been seven sessions, with the eighth scheduled for December 2008.
- In 2006, OJP developed a methamphetamine investigation training specifically tailored to Tribal law enforcement. This course provides Tribal law enforcement with information to conduct successful and safe methamphetamine investigations. More than 200 Tribal law enforcement officers have been trained through this initiative.
Advancing Justice through DNA Technology
The Department has strongly supported programs at the federal, state and local level that make DNA technology more accessible to law enforcement at all levels in solving crimes. Some of these programs include:
- In March 2003, the President announced the DNA Initiative to provide funding, training and assistance to ensure that forensic DNA reaches its full potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent and identify missing persons.
- On October 30, 2004, President Bush signed into law the Justice for All Act of 2004, which establishes enforceable rights for victims of crimes; enhances DNA collection and analysis efforts; provides for post-conviction DNA testing; and authorizes grants to improve the quality of representation in state capital cases.
- In Fiscal Years 2005 through 2007, Congress appropriated nearly $400 million to improve the use of DNA and other forensic technology. An additional $170 million was appropriated in 2008. During this period, NIJ awarded 979 grants to federal, state and local agencies to accomplish the purposes of the Justice for All Act.
- State and local law enforcement agencies have been funded to test nearly 104,000 DNA cases from 2004 to 2007; 2.5 million convicted offender and arrestee samples have been analyzed for entry into the national DNA database; and from 2005 to 2007, state and local laboratories have received over $125 million in funds to expand their long-term capacity to process DNA evidence by purchasing modern equipment, hiring more staff, and training new analysts.
- The Department has also provided extensive training related to DNA forensics to a wide range of criminal justice professionals. Currently, forensic scientists, law enforcement officers, and officers of the court can access sixteen separate online training courses in DNA forensics and eight onsite training opportunities. Additionally, NIJ's training for cold case and missing persons investigations have reached law enforcement professionals in every state. Dozens of publications, videos, and web resources are also available.