Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $549,878)
The Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the 'Recovery Act'), provides the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with funding for grants to assist State, local and tribal law enforcement (including support for hiring), to combat violence against women, to fight internet crimes against children, to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, to assist victims of crime, and to support youth mentoring. DOJ is committed to working with national, State, local and tribal partnerships to ensure this funding invests in the American workforce.
Specifically, the National Institute of Justice is making this award for an assessment of the progress of the Byrne program in reaching its stated goals through grants to law enforcement agencies (LEAs) for hiring civilians. The proposed study will provide a national examination of civilians hired by LEAs through this program and the impacts of those hires on LEAs and their communities. It will also yield valuable new data on issues associated with the hiring, retention, uses, and performance of civilians in policing. The study's first objective will be to provide a descriptive assessment of civilian hiring under the Byrne program.
A central component of the study will involve a cross-section national survey of all recipients of Byrne civilian awards and a sample of LEAs without these grants to provide an in-depth look at the experiences of Byrne grantees with their civilian grants, and to examine a broader range of issues associated with civilianization in policing, particularly as they relate to job preservation and creation. How many civilians will be hired, for example, and in what capacities? How much time will be needed to hire civilians under the program, and how quickly will the new hires be performing the functions they are hired to fill? The second objective will be to determine how these civilian hires affect LEAs with respect to job creation and retention (i.e., agency size), allocation and deployment of sworn personnel, retention and/or expansion of organizational functions (e.g., crime analysis, planning and research), and organizational efficiency and performance (e.g., improving clearance rates and reducing backlogs in forensic analysis). The third objective will be to assess the effects of the civilian hires on community outcomes. Will the civilian hires help LEAs reduce crime rates? Further, to what extent will the civilian hiring grants stimulate the local economy, both directly by creating or preserving jobs and indirectly by contributing to reductions in crime that stimulate economic growth? The fourth objective will be to answer other questions raised by NIJ about the impact of preserving and creating positions in the criminal justice workforce. Specifically, the study will examine a series of issues surrounding absenteeism, turnover, career longevity, work readiness, training, recruitment, career transitions, and performance with respect to civilians in LEAs. Additionally, the study will consider how these issues affect planning, implementation, and outcomes associated with the Byrne-funded civilian positions. Finally, the fifth objective of the study will be to increase the economic efficiency and effectiveness of LEAs through guidance on promising practices in the use and deployment of civilians in law enforcement. Based on the research results, a user-friendly document will be produced for practitioners and policymakers on key factors that were associated with positive outcomes for agency deployment of civilians, including guidelines on the implementation of a few of the top approaches.