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Director’s Corner: 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.

I invite all of NIJ’s research and practitioner stakeholders who are attending the IACP conference to join us for these panels.

The first panel, “Platform for Change:  Strengthening Policing through Evidence-Based Learning with NIJ’s Policing Platform,” will discuss NIJ’s policing platform. The platform was launched in 2008 with the goal to strengthen policing by generating timely and in-depth data regarding police organizations, personnel, and practices. Earlier this year, the Police Foundation assumed leadership of the platform (with NIJ funding) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Police Foundation undertook this project with the goal of expanding the number of participating law enforcement agencies, broadening topics covered, and providing greater accessibility and usability to law enforcement agencies.

This panel will explore what we’ve learned from the platform over the past nine years and lay out plans for the platform’s future. We will and encourage discussion with participants about how best to increase the platform’s value to current and future law enforcement leaders.

Moderated by NIJ Deputy Director Howard Spivak, the panelists will include representatives from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Police Foundation, law enforcement agencies, and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

As someone who has spent the majority of his career championing evidence-based policy and the importance of empirical research, I am particularly looking forward to the second panel, “Research in the Ranks: Empowering Officers to Answer Your Agency’s Research Questions.”

Moderated by NIJ Senior Policy Advisor Maureen McGough, this panel will discuss NIJ’s efforts to support departments in answering their own research questions. NIJ’s Law Enforcement Enhancing Data and Science (LEADS) Programs support mid-rank law enforcement individuals and law enforcement agencies. Our goal is to empower departments to identify their priority needs, leverage available data, and generate solutions uniquely tailored to their own agency.

The panelists, which include LEADS scholars and one of the LEADS chief research advisors, will share research results from across the country, demonstrating the impact of law enforcement officers pursuing research projects to better understand and guide operations and impact.

The final NIJ panel, “Protecting Our Protectors: Technology and Training to Advance Officer Safety,” will address using technology and training to advance officer safety. One of NIJ’s key priorities is to use science to advance officer safety and consistently contribute to improvements in protective equipment and technology. This panel will explore the latest research on officer safety, including an evaluation of a vehicle safety program, a description of lessons learned in vehicle marking and lighting schemes that increase officer safety, an understanding of next-generation technology for first responders, and an overview of improvements in the standards for ballistic resistant equipment. Moderated by NIJ Deputy Director Howard Spivak, the panelists include individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement, research, government, and transportation.

If you are attending the IACP conference, please join us at the NIJ Saturday Session for these panels. I look forward to meeting many of you and hearing your thoughts on the future of policing research and evaluation.