Supporting Law Enforcement
OVC supports partnerships with law enforcement agencies at the state, tribal, and local levels to combat crime, promote safer neighborhoods, and establish collaborations between police and the communities they protect. Through discretionary grant programs, training, and technical assistance, OVC grantees worked on programs to help various agencies provide effective law enforcement to ensure the safety of their citizens, and projects to provide comprehensive services to victims and family members in the aftermath of violent crimes, such as homicide and sexual assault.
- In FY 2016, OVC funded seven demonstration sites and one technical assistance provider under the new Vision 21: Multidisciplinary Responses to Families and Communities in Complex Homicide Cases grant program. The program—with sites in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and South Carolina—supports the enhancement of multidisciplinary interventions within 24–48 hours after deaths occur on some of the most complex types of cases, including gang-related homicides, intrafamilial homicides, homicides involving child witnesses, and cases involving DUI- or impaired driving-related deaths. The goal of the program is to identify promising, victim-centered, trauma-informed responses and evidence-based practices that can be implemented through partnerships between law enforcement and victim service providers and that are effective in addressing the needs of families and communities after these types of cases. This program will also disseminate resources and lessons learned to the field and will yield additional resources and information about promising practices that OVC can share with law enforcement communities and victim service practitioners.
- In FY 2016, OVC awarded $5 million to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) for the Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Victims demonstration initiative to build law enforcement’s capacity to develop strategies to address and eliminate the impact of gender bias on police response to sexual and domestic violence, including implementation of agencywide procedures that are trauma-informed and victim-centered. IACP is collaborating with federal partners and technical assistance providers to competitively select, oversee, and manage awards for up to six demonstration sites to implement effective guidance for identifying and preventing gender bias in police response and improving services for sexual assault and domestic violence victims, including underserved victim groups. As of June 2017, the demonstration sites have not been determined.
- In 2003, OVC partnered with IACP to create Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims (ELERV), a strategy to improve law enforcement agencies’ response to victims of crime, with a focus on reaching and serving underserved and unserved victims. A variety of tools were developed, including a Model Policy, a Concepts and Issues Paper, and a Training Key on Law Enforcement Response to Victims of Crime. Since its 2009 release, the ELERV strategy has been field tested at 11 pilot sites of varying sizes (Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC; Beaverton, OR; Mundelein, IL; Broken Arrow, OK; California State University at San Bernardino; Denver, CO; Flint, MI; Hastings, NE; Loundon County Sheriff’s Office, VA; New York State Police; and the City of Sumner, WA). In 2014, OVC again partnered with IACP to launch a demonstration initiative to implement and evaluate ELERV in three medium-size police departments. IACP is providing subject matter expertise throughout the strategy implementation process and assisting each department with identifying a local evaluation partner to help update the ELERV strategy and its accompanying resources. IACP will also develop a detailed plan to provide technical assistance on ELERV to interested law enforcement agencies across the country.
- OVC’s FY 2016 Vision 21: Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm program is helping communities develop a preventive and reparative focus to address the needs of those directly impacted by high-profile incidents, reduce tensions, maximize communication, and promote problem solving between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The initiative recognizes that healing support services must precede high-profile incidents to ensure the deployment of holistic evidence-based responses and the continuum of care necessary in their wake—when barriers and tensions are often intensified and more difficult to surmount. In FY 2016, OVC awarded $7 million to IACP, which has partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Yale School of Medicine’s Childhood Violent Trauma Center to work with up to six demonstration sites to assess and address crucial community needs, policy development and implementation, and internal culture and accountability. They will support capacity building within selected communities to create new and enhance existing collaborative partnerships to equip law enforcement agencies with skills, tools, and practices for improved community engagement and healing. As of June 2017, the demonstration sites have not been determined. Additionally, OVC and IACP are recruiting and preparing members of a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to assist law enforcement agencies and communities in the wake of crisis incidents. The RRT will consist of multidisciplinary subject matter experts representing law enforcement, victim assistance, mental health, and community leadership.
- In August 2015, OVC, in coordination with the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance and DOJ’s Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism, released an innovative electronic toolkit, Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources. This multidisciplinary toolkit is designed to help communities develop a comprehensive victim assistance plan for responding to incidents of mass violence and terrorism to ensure that all victims’ needs are met; bring key partners together to review existing emergency plans; and establish victim assistance protocols, which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of response and recovery efforts. The toolkit also includes checklists and resources to help community leaders plan for the unexpected.