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An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

The NIJ Director

Portrait of David B. Muhlhausen, NIJ Director, and Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General
David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., NIJ Director

The Director is appointed by the President to lead the National Institute of Justice and establish the agency's objectives, guided by the needs of the field and the priorities of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The current Director, David B. Muhlhausen, was sworn in August 22, 2017.

Follow the NIJ Director through the entries from the "Director's Corner" below or learn about the Office of the Director.

Director's Corner

July 30, 2020  — The National Institute of Justice Strategic Research Plans

Director Muhlhausen discussed NIJ's strategic research plans at the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative's advisory committee meeting. Read his prepared remarks

July 20, 2020 — Perspectives on Research and Evidence-Based Policing

Every year, NIJ supports 30 midcareer, research-minded law enforcement professionals to take part in professional development and travel opportunities, network, and contribute to the policing and research communities through the Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholars program. Perspectives on Research and Evidence-Based Policing collects the writings of LEADS scholars to demonstrate the impact of evidence-based policing across individual agencies. Read the introduction to this new volume.

April 17, 2020 — Realignment of Forensic Capacity Enhancement Programs within the Office of Justice Programs

The Office of Justice Programs has realigned the forensic science capacity enhancement programs to allow components to focus on their strengths and core mission. Learn more about this move.

January 2, 2020 — Reflecting on my Time as Director So Far ... And Envisioning the Future

NIJ recently celebrated a milestone birthday — 50 years of scientific efforts to advance the field of criminal justice. Now is a great time for us to look back at all that we’ve accomplished. Read Dr. Muhlhausen's reflection and vision for the coming year

September 25, 2019 — Rare Incidents Data Collection Methods to Advance Research on Mass Violence

Read Dr. Muhlhausen's remarks to the NIJ-hosted working group on rare incidents data collection methods to advance research on mass violence.

April 9, 2019 — NIJ Helps Lay the Groundwork for Implementation of the First Step Act

The First Step Act of 2018 aims to reform the federal prison system and reduce recidivism. A key component of the Act is an assessment of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ existing prisoner risk and needs assessment system. To begin that assessment, NIJ has selected the nonprofit and nonpartisan Hudson Institute to host the Independent Review Committee. We also are contracting with outside experts and leading researchers, including Dr. Grant Duwe Ph.D., Dr. Zachary Hamilton Ph.D., and Dr. Angela Hawken Ph.D., for assistance and consultation as the Department develops the Risk and Needs Assessment System under the Act. Read the full message about these important early steps.

December 8, 2018 — Remarks on Reentry at the 2018 National Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference

Dr. Muhlhausen participated in a panel moderated by Dr. Angela Moore, NIJ. Dr. Muhlhausen was joined on the panel by Dr. Marie Garcia, NIJ, and Dr. Grant Duwe, research director at the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Read Director Muhlhausen's prepared remarks.

December 3, 2018 — Research Summit on Women in Policing

Despite efforts to increase participation, the percentage of women in law enforcement has remained relatively stagnant for the past twenty years. There is limited empirical research, and especially rigorous research, on how to increase the employment of women in policing. There is also insufficient research to understand the unique challenges women officers face, and to address ways to improve the recruitment, retention, and promotion of exceptional women police. Read Director Muhlhausen's prepared remarks at the NIJ-hosted Research Summit on Women in Policing.

October 26, 2018 — Corrections Strategic Research Plan, 2018-2023

This plan establishes a five-year framework to better understand the highly interrelated areas of corrections personnel, organizational practices, and the experiences of adults and juveniles involved with the system. Read Director Muhlhausen's message about the corrections strategic research plan.

October 24, 2018 — Juvenile Justice Research Comes to NIJ

If you have heard me describing what NIJ does lately, you may have noticed that I have started sprinkling in references to the criminal and juvenile justice systems. There’s a good reason for that. As of October 22, the juvenile justice research function that had been part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has moved to NIJ. Read Director Muhlhausen's message.

October 12, 2018 — Elevating Practitioners: From Advisers to Participants to Drivers

From my very first day as the Director of the National Institute of Justice, I have made elevating the role of the practitioner a priority in everything we do. Our research must be connected to and serve the needs of the field. Read a rundown of the many ways NIJ is elevating the role of practitioners in everything we do.

September 25, 2018 — Fighting the Opioid Crisis

On September 25-26, 2018, NIJ hosted the Opioid Research Summit. The Summit brought together state and local police chiefs and executives, community partners, and researchers to discuss promising practices and identify research needs for the complex issues surrounding the opioid crisis. Read Director Muhlhausen's prepared remarks on combatting the opioid crisis.

September 18, 2018 — Bringing the Field to NIJ — Introducing the Practitioner-in-Residence Program

As NIJ director, one of my top priorities is to ensure that our work and organization don’t live in an ivory tower. We’re can’t make an impact if our research isn’t tied to the biggest challenges faced by those working in the criminal justice field. I’m excited to announce our practitioner-in-residence program. Through this program, criminal justice leaders from corrections, law enforcement, and courts will join NIJ in-house, giving us a direct line of connection to the field. NIJ’s first practitioner-in-residence joined our team. Dr. Reena Chakraborty comes to us from the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC), where she is a Supervisory Statistician and Chief of Strategic Planning and Analysis. Dr. Chakraborty joins NIJ half-time for the next two years. Read Director Muhlhausen's complete message announcing this new program and introducing Dr. Chakraborty.

August 20, 2018 — Pushing the Edge on Evidence-Based Policing - Reflections on Research for the Real World

NIJ recently hosted as part of a Research for the Real World event to discuss evidence-based policing and the importance of research and evidence. These panelists are leaning out over the edge of evidence-based policing, doing groundbreaking work to advance the policing field through their commitment to programs grounded in data, evidence, and rigorous research. I was honored to host them at NIJ to learn from them and hear them speak about their work. Read Director Muhlhausen's recap of and thoughts on the seminar.

July 9, 2018 — Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Initiative Strategic Plan

Through the Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Initiative, the National Institute of Justice supports law enforcement using data and research to inform effective policies and practices. Read director Muhlhausen's message regarding the new strategic plan.

June 28, 2018 — Advancing Evidence-Based Policing

Director Muhlhausen discusses NIJ's role in the advancement of evidence-based policing. Read Dr. Muhlhausen's message.

June 13, 2018 — Research on Returning Offender Programs and Promising Practices

Prepared remarks by NIJ Director David B. Muhlhausen given at the Secretaries Innovation Group. Read Director Muhlhausen's remarks.

May 29, 2018 — Supporting Crime Lab Directors and the Formation of the Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group

NIJ Principal Deputy Director Dr. Howard Spivak spoke at the American Society of Crime Lab Director's 45th Annual Symposium. Read Dr. Spivak's remarks, which include his announcement on the formation of the new Forensic Laboratory Needs Technology Working Group.

May 14, 2018 — A Message to Law Enforcement Professionals During Police Week 2018

Thank you! Let me start with that because the real message here is one of thanks for what you do for your communities and the nation. There is a lot that I would like to share about how NIJ can support your agency. Read Director Muhlhausen's message to law enforcement professionals.

April 16, 2018 — Responding to Sexual Assault

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon all the strides we have made to sexual assault response practice as a country, and how the lessons learned, investments, and technological advances have made it possible for the apprehension of more criminals, and for victims of sexual assault to find closure. Read the Director's message on sexual assault awareness month.

March 5, 2018 — Researcher Practitioner Partnerships

Researcher-practitioner partnerships are one of the best ways to ensure the value of research for both academics and practitioners in the field. NIJ is strongly committed to supporting this kind of partnership. Our funding and other work in this space reflects our dedication to partnerships. NIJ's Principal Deputy Director, Howard Spivak, MD, spoke on the subject and NIJ's work at the Innovations Suite Researcher-Practitioner Fellows Academy, Michigan State University, School of Criminal Justice. Read Dr. Spivak's prepared remarks.

January 31, 2018 — Learning From Leading Voices in Our New "Notes From the Field" Series

I am excited to announce the launch of the new NIJ publication series “Notes From the Field.” This series of articles will discuss innovative approaches to critical issues affecting police departments across the country. I have asked law enforcement executives and other on-the-ground leaders to share some of the most important lessons they have learned from their years of experience. Learn more about "Notes From the Field."

January 17, 2018 — Proactive Policing — What We Know and What We Don’t Know, Yet

There essentially are two ways to police: reactive and proactive. Reactive policing is epitomized by officers responding to calls-for-service. Proactive policing is getting out in front of events in the hopes of preventing crimes and working with the community to reduce crimes. Read Dr. Muhlhausen's message regarding proactive policing and the recent NAS report Proactive Policing Effects on Crime and Communities.

January 10, 2018 — Improved Officer Safety in 2017 — and Beyond

American law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep their communities safe, and sometimes they pay the ultimate price. Every year, officers are killed in the line of duty. 2017 saw a decrease of more than 10 percent in line-of-duty deaths, from 143 in 2016 to 128 last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Protecting law enforcement officers is one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s top priorities, and NIJ is committed to funding research that increases officer safety. Read Dr. Muhlhausen's message on officer safety.

December 7, 2017 — Remarks at the Korean Institute of Criminology Forum

Remarks by David B. Muhlhausen given at the Korean Institute of Criminology Forum, December 7, 2017, in Seoul, South Korea. Read Director Muhlhausen prepared remarks delivered at the Forum.

November 27, 2017 — The Las Vegas Body-Worn Camera Experiment

Prepared remarks of NIJ Director David B. Muhlhausen delivered at a press event, hosted by CNA, discussing the results of an NIJ-funded research study. Read Director Muhlhausen's prepared remarks on the body-worn camera experiment.

November 15, 2017 — Research at the National Institute of Justice

At the 2017 American Society of Criminology, Director Muhlhausen discusses NIJ's research priorities as he welcomed attendees to the NIJ Day. Read Director Muhlhausen's prepared remarks

November 13, 2017 — Data at Your Fingertips: the National Law Enforcement Applied Research and Data Platform

There are a number of adjectives used to describe different types of research — applied, basic, evaluation, operational, and others. During my time as the Director of NIJ, I want to make sure we add “useful” to those descriptors. One project that I am very excited about, and that promises great utility for law enforcement agencies is the National Law Enforcement Applied Research and Data Platform. Read Director Muhlhausen's post on the Platform.

October 20, 2017Innovative Approaches to Addressing Violent Crime

Director Muhlhausen discussed violent crime at the CNA Executive Session "Innovative Approaches to Addressing Violent Crime." Read his prepared remarks

October 12, 2017 — Spotlight on NIJ Research at International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference

Next week, law enforcement leadership from around the world will attend the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in Philadelphia. On Saturday, October 21, NIJ will host our 4th annual Saturday Session around the theme “What Works and What Matters in Policing.” The session will include three panels bringing together law enforcement and academic experts to discuss officer safety, technology, training, research, and other key issues. Learn more about the Saturday Session.

September 27, 2017 —  CrimeSolutions.gov Has Rated 500 Programs and Counting

It’s important to celebrate milestones, and CrimeSolutions.gov has hit a big one — 500 rated programs. That’s 500 opportunities for the criminal and juvenile justice and victim service practitioners and policymakers we serve to learn about what works, what doesn’t, and what’s promising. Read the director's full message on this milestone.

See a list of past Directors since 1969 and their speeches, remarks, and messages.

Date Created: March 14, 2008