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NIJ's Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholars Programs

Read our strategic plan for the LEADS program
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Description

Application period closed

Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for LEADS Law Enforcement Officer and Civilian Scholars. Selected scholars should be notified by the end of July 2022.

The National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholars Program is designed to increase the research capabilities of law enforcement professionals and agencies. In recent years, NIJ has focused on empowering law enforcement to integrate research into policies and practices. The LEADS Scholars Program advances evidence-based policing by supporting the development of research-minded law enforcement professionals. 

Established in 2014 through a partnership between NIJ and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), NIJ's LEADS Scholars Program focused on developing the research capacity of mid-career law enforcement officers who were committed to advancing and integrating science into law enforcement policies and practice. Research is a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies. This program continues to identify and nurture the next generation of law enforcement leadership through encouraging the use of evidence-based research to advance criminal justice. Learn more about the LEADS Law Enforcement Officers.

In 2019, NIJ piloted the addition of LEADS Academics to the Scholars program, with the goal of advancing practitioner-led research and promoting sustainable researcher/practitioner partnerships. One of the most important aspects of the LEADS program is the connection between researchers and practitioners. The addition of LEADS Academics to the program has strengthen those connections. Learn more about the LEADS Academics.

In 2019 NIJ also piloted the addition of LEADS Civilians to the Scholars program. The Civilians program offers a unique opportunity for law enforcement civilians to partner with current LEADS Scholars and alumni, in an effort to use data-driven strategies and locally-tailored research to advance their agency’s mission. Learn more about the LEADS Civilians .

Today there are over 90 LEADS Scholars in the network, which includes sworn law enforcement officers, civilians, and academics.

NIJ LEADS Program Increases Research Capabilities of Law Enforcement Officers

October 2019

This video, produced for IACPTV, provides an overview of the NIJ Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) program. NIJ LEADS Scholars from Dayton and Newark police departments provide an overview of the LEADS program as they describe their projects and experiences working in the program.

Hear from LEADS scholars Major Wendy Stiver, Dayton Police Department, and Captain Ivonne Roman, Newark Police Department.

Incorporating Research and Data Into Criminal Justice Agencies - NIJ LEADS Alumni Spotlight

March 2020

Sergeant Jeffery Egge of the Minneapolis Police Department, and NIJ LEADS Scholar alum, discusses his experience with leads including how the program benefited his agency and his use of date to address gun violence and the opioid epidemic and the city's sentinel events review of overdose fatalities. Sergeant Egge also discusses his current work looking at investigative closures.

Advances in Investigative Techniques: Drug Monitoring Programs

March 2020

Lieutenant Piotrowski, New Jersey State Police, discusses drug monitoring programs. With this program, his agency collects multiple drug-related data sets to ultimately have an impact on mitigating the impact of drugs in his community. Topics include the benefits of implementing a drug monitoring program, some of the outcomes of the program, and how federal funding can help an agency start such a program.

Lieutenant Piotrowski participated in an NIJ Day panel at the 2019 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference and Expo.

Policing Research: If you can't find it, do it

April 2019
In this video Ken Clary, a captain with the Iowa State Patrol and an NIJ Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) scholar, discusses the need to implement evidence-based practices for effective policing. He discusses how law enforcement agencies and officers should start by reviewing the existing body of knowledge.

NIJ LEADS Program Overview — Empowering Agencies to Integrate Research into Practice

May 2018
NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program aims to improve policies and practices based on evidence. This video includes interviews with LEADS Program Chief Research Advisors, Geoffery Alpert and Gary Cordner. LEADS scholars also provide commentary on the benefits of the program.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight - American Society of Evidence-Based Policing

October 2018
Joshua Young, a retired corporal of the Ventura Police Department in California and Class of 2015 Scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, discusses the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which encourages the use of data and research to inform policing. He also talks about a randomized control trial he conducted on body-worn cameras and the support he has received from the LEADS program.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight — Patrol Officer Exposure to Subcritical Incidents

May 2018
Wendy Stiver, a commander with the Dayton Police Department in Ohio and a Class of 2016 scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, talks about her work to find interventions to patrol officer exposure to subcritical trauma, or subcritical incidents. She said she was inspired by the LEADS Program to begin analyzing this subject.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight — Reducing Gun Violence

May 2018
Cory Nelson, a captain with the Madison Police Department in Wisconsin and a Class of 2015 scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, speaks about how he was able to reduce gun violence in Madison thanks to implementing the Koper Curve Theory. He learned of this new principle as part of the LEADS Program when he attended the Evidence-Based Policing Symposium at George Mason University earlier this year.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight — Predictive Policing Algorithms

May 2018
Shon Barnes, a deputy police chief with the Salisbury Police Department in North Carolina and a Class of 2015 scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, explains predictive policing and details a quasi-experiment that his department performed. He credits the LEADS Scholarship Program with helping him understand data and ask the right questions.

LEADS Scholar Spotlight - Optimal Investigator Caseloads

October 2018
Daniel Stewart, a captain in the Oklahoma City Police Department and Class of 2016 Scholar of NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program, discusses research he has conducted on investigator caseloads as commander of a property crimes unit with his police department. He also speaks about the impact of the LEADS program and network on his research and professional career.

NIJ's Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Program — Departing Class

June 2017
In this video, law enforcement officers discuss how NIJ’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) scholar program benefits professional development and provides the opportunity to network with academia and share research with other agencies to improve evidence-based policing. In addition, law officers discuss how the LEADs scholar program equips smaller agencies to improve community relations.