This report presents the results of a NIJ-funded national analysis of the Byrne Civilian Hiring Program, with attention to the program’s effects on law enforcement agencies and crime rates.
The study found that grant recipients under this program made good use of the funding to fill civilian positions that would not have been possible without the Byrne grant. Civilians are now not only in clerical and support roles for sworn officers, but are also employed in positions integral to information technology, crime analysis, intelligence, human resources, and media relations. Resentment of civilians by sworn officers found in earlier reports was not a major issue among respondents in the current study. Byrne grant recipients believed that civilians retained or hired as a result of the Byrne program increased their agencies’ effectiveness by freeing sworn staff for patrol and investigative duties and providing supportive services that improved the performance of sworn personnel. At a time when budgets for local and State public services have been shrinking, the Byrne Civilian Hiring Program has enabled law enforcement agencies to retain valuable civilian staff and hire new civilian staff. The study combined a variety of research methods, including a national survey of the use of civilians in policing; interviews with agencies that hired or retained civilians through the Byrne program; an analysis of crime rates among Byrne grantees and matched control agencies; and case studies of innovative uses of Byrne funding. 12 figures, 3 tables, and 66 references
Date Published: December 1, 2013