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Solving Cold Cases with DNA Funding Program

Several law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, and crime labs across the country have established innovative programs to review old cases. Often called "cold case units," these programs have enabled criminal justice officials to solve cases that have languished for years without suspects. Most frequently, DNA evidence has been the linchpin in solving these cases.

Supporting States to Test Sexual Assault Evidence

April, 2018

April 2018

Crime laboratory and law enforcement personnel from three states discuss the value the NIJ-FBI Sexual Assault Kit Partnership to test sexual assault evidence and obtain investigatory leads.

During this partnership, NIJ is working with the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, to test eligible kits from law enforcement agencies and laboratories across the country and develop best practices that can improve the quality and speed of sexual assault kit processing. 

Strengthening Our Nation's Crime Laboratories

April, 2018

April 2018

As technology improves, demand for analysis of DNA and other forensic evidence to help solve crimes grows. This video describes some of the challenges crime laboratories face in meeting this demand and how National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funding has strengthened crime labs and encouraged innovation in forensic techniques.

Why Is the United States the Most Homicidal Nation in the Affluent World?

December, 2013

Ohio State University Since World War II, the homicide rate in the U.S. has been three to ten times higher than in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. This, however, has not always been the case. What caused the dramatic change? Dr. Roth discussed how and why rates of different kinds of homicide have varied across time and space over the past 450 years, including an examination of the murder of children by parents or caregivers, intimate partner violence, and homicides among unrelated adults.

The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault: Implications for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and Victim Advocacy

December, 2012

Dr. Campbell brings together research on the neurobiology of trauma and the criminal justice response to sexual assault. She explains the underlying neurobiology of traumatic events, its emotional and physical manifestation, and how these processes can impact the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults. Real-world, practical implications are examined for first responders, such as law enforcement, nurses, prosecutors, and advocates.

The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault: Implications for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and Victim Advocacy

December, 2012

Dr. Campbell brings together research on the neurobiology of trauma and the criminal justice response to sexual assault. She explains the underlying neurobiology of traumatic events, its emotional and physical manifestation, and how these processes can impact the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults. Real-world, practical implications are examined for first responders, such as law enforcement, nurses, prosecutors, and advocates.

Research and Law Enforcement Partnerships Manage Civil Disturbances More Effectively

August, 2019

Law enforcement agencies can use research-based practices to manage protests and civil disturbances more effectively. In this video, Dr. Tamara Herold, Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Ryan Lee, Assistant Chief, Portland Police Bureau, discuss some of those methods, some of the misconceptions about how law enforcement should respond to civil disturbances, and where agencies should begin when developing civil disturbance response plans. 

Research and Law Enforcement Partnerships Manage Civil Disturbances More Effectively

August, 2019

Law enforcement agencies can use research-based practices to manage protests and civil disturbances more effectively. In this video, Dr. Tamara Herold, Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Ryan Lee, Assistant Chief, Portland Police Bureau, discuss some of those methods, some of the misconceptions about how law enforcement should respond to civil disturbances, and where agencies should begin when developing civil disturbance response plans. 

Research and Law Enforcement Partnerships Manage Civil Disturbances More Effectively

August, 2019

Law enforcement agencies can use research-based practices to manage protests and civil disturbances more effectively. In this video, Dr. Tamara Herold, Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Ryan Lee, Assistant Chief, Portland Police Bureau, discuss some of those methods, some of the misconceptions about how law enforcement should respond to civil disturbances, and where agencies should begin when developing civil disturbance response plans. 

Performance Data from the DNA Capacity Enhancement and Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program

: Casework laboratories test forensic evidence from on ongoing cases and investigations. The metrics they report come from the DNA analysis of this evidence. Database laboratories analyze DNA samples collected from convicted offenders and arrestees as the State’s legislation dictates. Every state has at least one database laboratory, and those laboratories are generally managed by the state laboratory system. The metrics they reported are from the analysis of these database samples. Note that not all database laboratories collect arrestee samples and not all the grantees listed in this grid collect database samples.

January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018

Yes, the backlog reported in these metrics includes the SAK backlog. The CEBR program is designed to support DNA analysis for all crimes including homicide, sexual assault and robbery, thus NIJ does not focus on obtaining data associated with one category of evidence or crime.

A CODIS hit may involve the linking of crimes to each other and/or to convicted offenders or arrestees. The system’s hits are tracked as either an offender hit (where the identity of a potential suspect is generated) or as a forensic hit (where the DNA profiles obtained from two or more crime scenes are linked but the source of these profiles remains unknown (FBI, 2019)).

Grantees who record zero for measures D-F or J-L did not use their Federal award money for one or more of the following activities: overtime for existing scientists to analyze forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, DNA testing supplies for forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, outsourcing forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples, or hiring and supporting additional scientists whose main activity was analyzing forensic biology/DNA cases or database samples. If grantees are using their Federal award money for one or more of the above activities, they should have data to report for cases analyzed, database samples analyzed, profiles uploaded from forensic cases and database samples, and hits.

The award period for CEBR awards are two years. Some grantees receive extensions on their awards for many different reasons, but the longest extension an award can receive is one year, for a total award period of three years.

Police-on-Police Shootings and the Puzzle of Unconscious Racial Bias

June, 2010

Professor Christopher Stone recently completed a study of police-on-police shootings as part of a task force he chaired in New York State. He reported on his findings and recommendations, exploring the role of race in policing decisions, methods to improve training and tactics to defuse police-on-police confrontations before they become fatal, and methods to improve the investigations of such shootings.

Opening the Black Box of NIBIN

July, 2014

Bill King discusses the operations of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a program through which firearms examiners at state and local crime laboratories compare tool marks on fired bullets or cartridges found at a crime scene to digitized images of ballistic evidence in a nationwide database.

Opening the Black Box of NIBIN

July, 2014

Bill King discusses the operations of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a program through which firearms examiners at state and local crime laboratories compare tool marks on fired bullets or cartridges found at a crime scene to digitized images of ballistic evidence in a nationwide database.

Mothers & Children Seeking Safety in the US: A Study of International Child Abduction Cases Involving Domestic Violence

October, 2010

Since the implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, thousands of abused women have faced complex litigation after seeking safety in the United States. Many have been court ordered to return their to the country from which they fled and often to their abusive partners custody. The presenters discussed the findings of an NIJ-funded study focusing on the experiences of women who as victims of domestic violence in another country, come to the U.S.