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NIJ LEADS Program Increases Research Capabilities of Law Enforcement Officers

Wendy Stiver, Dayton (Ohio) Police Department, NIJ LEADS Scholar; Corey Haberman, Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati; Captain Yvonne Roman, Newark (NJ) Police Department, NIJ LEADS Scholar; Undersheriff Jonathan Parham, Union County (NJ) Sheriff’s Office

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.

The National Institute of Justice's law enforcement advancing data and science program or LEADS is designed to increase the research capabilities of law enforcement officers. 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 personnel. Established in 2014 through a partnership between NIJ and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, NIJ's LEADS Scholars Program develops the research capacity of mid-career law enforcement personnel who are committed to advancing and integrating science into law enforcement policies and practice.

The program aims to identify and nurture the next generation of law enforcement leadership through encouraging the use of evidence-based research to advance criminal justice.

[Wendy Stiver] So the NIJ leads program allows mid-career officers from different agencies all over the United States and other countries to collaborate on research projects to meet with researchers to explore possible projects and opportunities to learn more about research practices and evidence-based practices and to be able to take those home and implement those in our agency.

I pursued a master's degree in criminal justice the University of Cincinnati and one of the things that really struck me during my course of study was that there was research out there that showed certain policing methods did not actually achieve the objectives of reducing crime preventing crime or solving cases.

When I assumed my role as the commander of our downtown patrol division it was really important to me to make sure that we were applying evidence-based strategies. There was a lot of demand and pressure from the community to increase visibility without increasing staffing.

Through my relationship with Dr. Corey Haberman I was able to talk about and explore different options.

[Corey Haberman] She's a major proponent of evidence-based policing so she didn't want to just roll out some visibility program that was not gonna have any impact on crime or perhaps commit community members’ perceptions of the police and so her and I through our relationship began to kind of work together and talk about some ideas that were possible. She was really interested in foot patrol because there has been some recent research to suggest that it could decrease crime when it's implemented I very small kind of micro level high crime places.

[Wendy Stiver] Corey helped to design a strategy where our officers were asked to just go out in 15-minute increments on foot patrol in those areas where we knew that we were experiencing more crime The primary goals of the foot patrol program were to reduce crime and then to meet the community's needs to see more officers and to create visibility in a different way.

LEADS really was reinvigorating in terms of creating huge new opportunities to not only have an impact on my agency in my community but on policing in general. Every scholar has the opportunity to take advantage of this program and use the resources to work on projects that are important to their own respective agencies.

[Yvonne Roman] I started the leads program in 2016. I was a master student in Rutgers University and I was looking for a way that I can integrate the research that I was reading in my classes into the policies that I was implementing in the North Police Department so I found a funding opportunity and I was able to establish a Women's Leadership Academy and my application for that funding was based on the research that I had found and I was able to advocate to increase the number of women in policing and we've had a very good results with that program.

[Jonathan Parham] I read an article where Yvonne was featured in the article I looked a little bit deeper into her background and recognized that she had background in research and I knew that that would be the missing link the missing piece of what we wanted to put together.

[Yvonne Roman] He saw the work that I was doing and when he was tapped to oversee the unarmed offensive tactics by the Attorney General he reached out to me so I can integrate the evidence and research into the overhaul of the unarmed offensive tactics in the state of New Jersey.

[Jonathan Parham] We want to create a policy that guides how officers use force. The next thing we want to do is make sure that everyone uses the same amount of force the same way.

Yvonne basically said to me we're going to look at this from a scientific way we're going to be able to take an evidence-based approach to what we're doing to justify what's been done to determine what the best practices are and to use those things so that we put together a program that is holistic meaning that it is complete from beginning to end.

I think that the LEADS program provides something special for long for something that we have it normally undertaken and that is looking at an evidence-based approach to justify what we're doing.

[Yvonne Roman] So the LEADS program has really opened up a lot of doors for me and it has been through the use of that research that I've been able to do all these programs and projects. It's definitely an opportunity to grow within your career and to make those connections to build those relationships to help support evidence-based policing not only in your own communities but to build on that and share it around the country to help strengthen the goal of doing what works.

For more information about the NIJ LEADS program, requirements, benefits, and how to apply please visit the NIJ website at NIJ.ojp.gov.

Date Created: October 31, 2019