The Critical Response program is designed to provide targeted technical assistance (TA) to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies experiencing high profile events, major incidents, or sensitive issues of varying need. Critical Response is highly customizable by providing flexible assistance to law enforcement agencies that have recently experienced a critical incident or identified an issue of significant community concern in their department’s operations.

Through the Critical Response program, the team is able to deliver targeted, customized technical assistance to a wide range of state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies that generally fall into three categories: (1) immediate delivery of TA to address a pressing and acute need, (2) data analysis, and (3) after-action reviews to understand and learn from law enforcement and public safety responses to critical incidents or issues.

Immediate Delivery of TA


Examples of immediate TA include:

  • Confidential consultation with law enforcement leaders and subject matter experts
  • Onsite meetings and briefings with peer agencies
  • Community outreach and engagement
  • Training on critical issues

Data Analysis


Examples of data analysis include:

  • Racial profiling
  • Use of force
  • Traffic stops
  • Arrests
  • Staffing

After-Action Reviews


Critical Response also supports after-action reviews of the law enforcement response to critical incidents when a law enforcement agency demonstrates that this objective review would be beneficial. Through these after-action reviews, the COPS Office and partners will work closely with the local law enforcement agency and other stakeholders to document their approaches, provide feedback on strategies and tactics that were found to work, and identify areas where best and promising practices could be employed in the future.

After-action reviews are conducted within the general framework described in the COPS Office publication, How to Conduct an After Action Review.

Request Assistance


To submit a request under the COPS Office Collaborative Reform Initiative Continuum of Technical Assistance Services, please complete the following:

If you wish to contact the COPS Office Collaborative Reform Initiative team, please email or call the COPS Office Response Center at 1-800-421-6770.

Active Critical Response Sites


The COPS Office is currently engaged with the following sites:

  • Columbus, OH Division of Police
    • Type of TA: Issue-Specific Review
    • Topic(s): Use of Force
    • Status: Assessment

  • Philadelphia, PA Police Department
    • Type of TA: Issue-Specific Review
    • Topic(s):Traffic Collisions
    • Status: Assessment

  • Cleveland, OH Division of Police
    • Type of TA: Technical Assistance
    • Topic(s):Community Policing; Problem-Oriented Policing; Recruitment and Hiring
    • Status: Ongoing

  • Fargo, ND Police Department
    • Type of TA: Issue-Specific Review
    • Topic(s):Critical Incidents; Officer-Involved Shootings
    • Status: Assessment

Closed Critical Response Sites


As the COPS Office closes out a site, those sites will be added in this section.


Who can request assistance?

All requests must be received from the chief executive of a law enforcement agency or with expressed authorization from the chief executive of the law enforcement agency. Requesting agencies do not need to be a member of any partnering organization to be considered for technical assistance services. Requesting agencies should be from a state, local, county, tribal, campus, or territorial law enforcement agency.

Are other services provided beyond those already described?

The COPS Office understands that each technical assistance request is unique and are open to exploring other services should specific needs arise. Please note this is not a grant program and certain costs cannot be supported through this engagement to include agency personnel and equipment needs.

What other factors could impact my technical assistance request?

As a matter of standard practice, technical assistance requests involving matters where there are active state, local, or federal investigations pending, or that are the subject or potential subject of litigation, are unlikely to be approved.

What happens after I submit a request?
  • Upon receipt, COPS Office staff will contact you to assess/define the request, discuss the process, obtain additional pertinent information, and align expectations
  • From there, we will start the process to develop a technical assistance work plan. This work plan includes a detailed description of the technical assistance, SMEs, and staff assigned to your project. The work plan is subject to your review, input, and approval before we move forward to begin delivering technical assistance.
  • Upon your approval of the work plan, we will initiate the technical assistance delivery. Throughout delivery, we will continue to ensure we are meeting your needs with regular communication.