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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
At the end of May, our office participated in three very informative meetings which explored issues and practices critical to the safety of our nation’s children and the American public at large. The first of these was an event called Critical Topics in School Safety. Held in Washington on May 23, this day-long meeting was cohosted by the COPS Office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), both of which support grant programs funded though the STOP School Violence Act. The COPS School Violence Prevention Program funds a variety of school safety enhancements, including law enforcement training, equipment, and technology. In 2018, the program awarded nearly $25 million to fund safety improvements in more than 5,300 schools, improving the security of more than three million students. This year, the COPS office is providing an additional $25 million to fund further safety enhancements.
As we all know, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to school safety. But the insights, recommendations, and strategies that our guest speakers offered in the May 23 discussions will be of great value to our staff as they continue to support local schools in their efforts to develop safety measures that meet their local community’s needs and resources. By hearing from experts in the field on lessons learned, critical gaps in coverage, and the resources necessary to bridge them, we gained a greater understanding of the wide range of school safety concerns, which will enable us to enhance the effectiveness of the safety initiatives we support.
From May 28–31, I attended the joint meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), the FBI National Executive Institute Associates (NEIA), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Miami Beach, Florida. At the MCCA portion of the meeting, I discussed the benefits of the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance (CRI-TA), a COPS Office program which provides technical assistance resources to state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Featuring a “by the field, for the field” approach, CRI-TA offers individualized assistance tailored to the needs of the requesting agency and delivered by experts in various areas of public safety, crime reduction, and community policing. The topics addressed include a wide variety of law enforcement issues, such as crime analysis, police performance management, focused deterrence, and domestic violence training, human trafficking, and officer safety and wellness.
My focus in addressing the PERF meeting was on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, as they are more commonly called. I outlined the DOJ’s efforts in establishing best practices, drawing up a legal framework, and taking steps to stand up a state, local, and tribal (SLT) law enforcement working group on this topic.
A number of one-on-one discussions following my address centered on federal assistance to help SLT agencies acquire, train, and develop effective UAS programs. This will be a focus of a UAS forum planned for the latter part of 2019—the sequel to a forum held in February of this year by the DOJ, the COPS Office, and PERF, where the idea of a SLT UAS working group focused on law enforcement was first discussed.
– Director Keith
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