Crime Reduction: Enforcement and Prevention Strategies

Crime Reduction: Enforcement and Prevention Strategies offers current guidance on effective enforcement and policing strategies aimed at crime reduction.

The course also explores the application of crime prevention as a means of actively interdicting and preventing crime in our nation’s communities. To help connect principles to practice, this course highlights crime reduction initiatives undertaken by law enforcement agencies around the country, demonstrating how policing strategies can be applied in varying contexts.

Through video interviews and case studies, each module presents real-world examples to illustrate the strategies presented in the course.



About This Course

Crime Reduction: Enforcement and Prevention Strategies is designed to provide participants with an overview of best practices for crime reduction, including guidelines for implementing an organizational model for crime reduction at all levels within a police department. The course offers useful strategies for problem solving in order to develop immediate, short-term, and long-term responses to crime within a community.

Participants should expect to spend approximately 3-4 hours exploring the content and resources in this course. The design of the course allows participants to stop and resume the training based on the demands of their schedule.

This tuition-free online training was developed by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI) and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2017-CK-WXK-001 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Primary Audience

This course is intended for law enforcement personnel at any level of experience within organizations of any size.

Drug Identification – The Opioid Crisis in America

The Opioid Crisis in America is an interactive two-part course in a series of Drug Identification training modules. The other courses in this series are Depressants, Antidepressants, and Inhalants and Stimulants.

This course provides an overview of the chemical and legal classification of opioids and examines the nationa​​l epidemic of opioid abuse. It provides key information and safety measures law enforcement and criminal justice providers should know when responding to opioid related events. Community response and other evidence-based practices are also discussed.



About This Course

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every day in America, 116 people die from an opioid overdose.[1]

As reported by the US Surgeon General in 2015, 1.5 million Americans aged 12 or older reported misusing sedatives in the past year. Furthermore, 6.1 million individuals reported misusing tranquilizers such as Xanax® in the past year[1] This is especially concerning as many of these individuals will mix sedatives and/or tranquilizers with alcohol, a depressant in its own right. This risky behavior increases the potential for overdose which can occur when critical areas in the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature stop functioning.[2] This course will identify the various types of commonly abused depressants, sedatives, anti-depressants and inhalants; discuss current trends relating to these substances; examine side effects and symptoms of abuse of these substances; discuss the synergistic effects of depressants mixed with alcohol; and review common and household items used for inhalant properties.  

Part one of this course, “The Opioid Crisis in America: Overview”, discusses the differences between opiates and opioids; identifies uses of opioids, examines the overall national opioid epidemic, describes the societal impacts of opioid abuse.

Part two, “The Opioid Crisis in America: Opioid Drugs and Responses” reviews the most commonly abused prescription opioid drugs; differentiates between physical manifestations of synthetic opioids in comparison to other opioids; examines common methods of opioid injection and common paraphernalia used for ingestion; and reviews medications to reduce opioid dependence.

[1] Public Affairs. “ The Prescription Drug & Heroin Overdose Epidemic.“ Accessed May 03, 2018.


[1] “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2016. 1-9.

Participants should expect to spend approximately 2 hours reviewing the content and resources in this course.

This tuition-free online training was developed by the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2017-CK-WX-K007 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Primary Audience

This course is ideal for all law enforcement, criminal justice professionals and service providers as well as community-policing stakeholders, including corrections professionals, court system personnel, social workers, and behavioral health/treatment providers.

2021 Officer Media Stimulus Survey

By Editorial Staff, Officer Media Group

Please support us in gathering this bit of data about stimulus funding use.

We at the Officer Media Group are wondering if any agencies are receiving additional funding or grant dollars as a result of the most recent round of federal stimulus funding related to the COVID Pandemic. Additionally, we’re curious if any officers are using their personal stimulus funding for work-related items.

To that end, we’ve developed a very short survey (less than three minutes to complete) with questions focused on such. There are no identifying questions beyond rank and duty assignment. We would appreciate you giving us the three minutes (or less) of your time and thank you in advance!


Legislature Approves Second Amendment Preservation Act, SB53

Click on link to watch the video of the press conference: ​

The Missouri Sheriffs’ Association and the ​Sheriffs of Missouri are proud of the hard work and dedication of everyone who made the passage of the Second Amendment Preservation Act and SB53 (Police Reform) possible. 

We also thank all who made it possible for Missouri ​S​heriffs to receive an increase in salary comparable to other valued officers of the ​c​ourt and protectors of the community. The Sheriffs of Missouri stand as a defender of 2nd Amendment rights for all law abiding citizens. 

​​As Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller said, Missouri Sheriffs will not participate in the wholesale confiscation of guns from law abiding citizens. There are those who need their guns taken; they’re called “criminals.”

Lawmakers OK $3.6 Million Increase for Public Defenders

By Jessica Shumaker ​for Missouri Lawyers Media |​

Missouri’s public defender system is poised to expand its trial office ranks by more than 50 attorneys after receiving a $3.6 million bump in funding from the state legislature in the state’s 2022 budget.

The bill is now before Gov. Mike Parson, who has not yet signed it.

Mary Fox, director of the Missouri State Public Defender System, said she’s “ecstatic” with the legislature’s approval of more funding.

“This will put us in a position where we will not have to maintain wait lists and where we will be able to provide effective representation for our clients,” she said.

Fox said it will allow for 53 additional attorneys in the system’s trial offices. It will also allow the system to establish a parole-revocation unit.

Fox said the system is hosting a career fair on June 10 at its office in Columbia. For more information, visit

The House budget chairman, Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, said that, following negotiations, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers agreed that “it’s time to increase funding to our public defenders.”

“We expect that should entirely eliminate our wait list for those awaiting a public defense,” he said as the Hous​​e took a final vote on the appropriations bill on May 7. “That’s a good thing we can all be proud of and celebrate.”

Last year, a class of plaintiffs challenged the defender system’s use of wait lists for thousands of indigent defendants statewide.

In February, a Phelps County judge ruled that the use of the lists violates provisions of the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, but then stayed the case until June 30 to give the legislature time to increase funding so that the waiting lists could be eliminated.

Lawmakers were keenly aware of the ongoing litigation. Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, called the funding “monumental,” predicting that the lawsuit would have been successful had the legislature failed to act.

“Judges would be in charge of that funding instead of the legislature, so this is a much, much better route to solving that crisis and upholding our constitution,” he said.

Rep. Brad Hudson, R-Cape Fair, agreed. “We were facing a potential constitutional crisis,” he added.

Once implemented, the additional funding could bring to an end to the pending litigation challenging the wait lists.  

Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, which is representing the plaintiffs, said in an email that the budget is “extremely promising” and that his organization is optimistic that if Parson signs the budget, it will eliminate the wait lists.

“But a promise does not change the fact that there are unconstitutional waiting lists now and, beyond the Governor’s signature, the appropriated funds will also need to be distributed without reduction as quickly as possible and more than fifty additional public defenders hired and trained before there is any change to the on-the-ground reality,” he said. “While this hugely positive change from the state should effectively make our case moot — and we would be thrilled if it does — it does not yet.”

The budget bill also approved $2.83 million for the judiciary to upgrade the case management system. The money would accelerate the ongoing replacement of the court’s outmoded Justice Information System. currently is funded in part by a $7 per-case filing fee that has been in place since 1994. Lawmakers considered a proposal to increase the fee to $25 but ultimately rejected that approach in favor of using general revenue funds.

The bill also restores about $475,000 in funding for judicial training and education.

Senior Reporter Scott Lauck contributed to this report.

Greene County Deputy Next Running 4 Heroes Grant Recipient

On December 11th, 2020, Greene County Sheriff’s Office deputies had been dealing with a male involved in a domestic disturbance with his estranged wife. Deputies reported this to the subject’s parole officer who issued an arrest warrant for the subject.

Deputies located the suspect, who had taken his wife’s car, and attempted to stop him, resulting in a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit reached speeds of up to over 100 mph.

During the pursuit, the suspect attempted to hit a deputy that was deploying spike strips but fortunately missed the deputy.
As the pursuit continued, Lt. Steve Westbrook had taken up position off the roadway and was outside of his patrol car in order to deploy spikes. The suspect intentionally drove toward and hit Lt. Westbrook’s vehicle at high speed, pushing the car into Lt. Westbrook.

Lt. Westbrook was thrown by the force of the impact, suffering numerous fractures in his arms, wrists, spine, pelvis, and leg. Some of the injuries required immediate surgical intervention to stabilize, in addition to numerous cuts and bruises.

Though Lt. Westbrook, a 24-year veteran of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, has a long road to recovery, we are pleased to share that he is recovering with support from his agency, as well as his loving wife, a long-time employee herself of Greene County. His recovery still has much progress to make, and we know your prayers mean more than anything as he continues down that road.

Zechariah, along with the Running 4 Heroes Board of Directors, are excited to announce that Deputy Lt. Steve Westbrook of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office is our May recipient of the $10,000 Injured First Responder Grant!

With this Grant, Zechariah has now been able to award $136,500 in funding to 18 different heroes since January, 2020!
Zechariah, his father and a few other Running 4 Heroes Board of Director Members will be in Greene County, Missouri on Saturday, May 22 to present Lt. Westbrook with the grant.

While in Greene County, Zechariah will also be running 1 mile to honor every fallen first responder lost in the great State of Missouri. This run should be open to the public, and we will provide more details as we finalize a time and location for this run.

Zechariah is excited to visit the state of Missouri for the first time, and to show support and appreciation to some of the finest heroes that Missouri has to offer! Our continued prayers go out to Lt. Westbrook as he completes his recovery, and we thank him for being a hero and role model that Zechariah can look up to!

How Simulation Training Helps Officers Hone Crisis Response Skills

Simulation training from VirTra can help officers learn how to effectively communicate with someone experiencing a mental health crisis to delay or avoid use of force. (VirTra)


By Margarita Birnbaum for Police1 BrandFocus

The Los Angeles and San Antonio police departments are among agencies that have partnered with mental health professionals to handle emergency calls that involve people in emotional distress. In doing that, police departments hope to reduce use-of-force incidents.

Nicole M. Florisi, a former police sergeant and current instructor at the Force Science Institute, says departments must offer their officers targeted training to help reduce use-of-force incidents involving people in emotional distress.

Specifically, the veteran SWAT officer and counselor says departments need to educate officers about behaviors associated with mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. That training should include effective communication skills so officers can learn to successfully interact with people in emotional distress.

To get the most informative and realistic experience, Florisi recommends simulation-based training programs, such as those offered by VirTra, because the information and skills officers learn through simulation training involves mental and physical elements, as well as decision-making, and therefore sticks much more than what they learn through classroom lectures and passively watching videos.

“How we train most of the time isn’t really how the brain learns,” said Florisi, a part-time officer with the Jerome Police Department in Arizona. “We need to be in reality-based, scenario-based integrative training that hits all the components to create both psychological arousal and physiological arousal.”

She believes that simulation-based training may help prevent excessive force incidents raging from unnecessary arrests to fatal shootings.

Properly communicating with someone in emotional distress, Florisi says, “can be the difference between life and death. It can also be the difference in keeping your career or not.”


Certainly, most encounters between police officers and people who have a mental illness do not end in use of force, in part because many of those encounters have nothing to do with a person’s mental illness. Data, however, show that officers spend more time dealing with mental disturbance calls than they do on calls involving traffic accidents, burglaries and assaults.

The more information and context officers have about the circumstances that triggered an incident, says Florisi – such as a divorce, change in medication, loss of a loved one or drug use – the more likely that they will be able to keep everyone safe.

“Helping officers identify what type of communication is best in those situations is what’s really critical in dealing with anybody, not just someone who has a mental illness,” said Florisi, who wrote VirTra’s mental illness simulation curriculum.

Officers who go through VirTra’s mental illness training program learn basic information about depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other disorders, including the physiological processes and harmful behaviors associated with them. They also learn the best tone, words and phrases to use to effectively communicate with someone experiencing a mental health crisis due to illness or substance abuse.

Two common mistakes officers make when dealing with a person in crisis, says Florisi, are:

  • Thinking that they can make the person obey them.
  • Thinking t​​hat they can reason with the person.

VirTra’s simulation training drives home that officers need to learn to respond to the individual’s behavior, rather than the emotional trigger.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the emotion that’s driving the behavior,” Florisi said.


Perhaps one of the most important things officers learn in the simulation training is managing their own emotions that may affect their job performance.

Many officers live with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses and aren’t aware of how deeply they are affected by them or how their illnesses affect their job performance, Florisi says. In addition, many don’t understand how the body’s physiological responses to stress may affect their decision-making process.

“There’s a misconception, from the public but also among police officers, that you’re immune to human psychology and human factors, “Florisi said. “The brain doesn’t work like that.”

It’s important for officers to be watchful of the verbal and nonverbal triggers that may cause them to become aggressive, she says, which can lead to inappropriate use of force and potentially dire consequences.

One of the benefits of simulation training with reality-based scenarios is that officers can identify areas where they need improvement when responding to emotionally charged, high-stakes calls. As instructors shift the way the scenarios unfold to challenge officers during the simulation sessions, they can learn how to identify when they are responding poorly to a situation and use breathing and other techniques to calm down.

“We are tasked with the sanctity of life, and that requires some professional neutrality,” Florisi said. “To achieve our police objective, officers have to be able to successfully navigate their working environment — and part of that is learning to regulate emotion and communicate effectively.”

Visit VirTra for more information on mental illness and de-escalation training.

Justice Department Partnership Finds More Than 300 Unidentified Persons Through Fingerprint Analysis

The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs recently announced an important milestone reached through a partnership between OJP’s National Institute of Justice and the FBI.

The collaborative effort to match unidentified persons’ fingerprints to biometric and criminal history information made its 300th identification in March 2021.

“This latest milestone affirms the essential role that forensic science plays in solving crimes and ensuring public safety,” said NIJ Acting Director Jennifer Scherer. “Our partnership with the FBI continues to yield impressive results in the face of daunting investigative challenges, establishing identities out of the thinnest of evidence and delivering long-awaited answers to families of the missing, often after years of anguish and uncertainty.”

In February 2017, NIJ’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) program and the FBI Laboratory began searching unidentified persons’ fingerprints through the FBI’s NextGeneration Identification System (NGI). The NGI system is the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information and enables analysis of poor-quality entries in the FBI’s fingerprint database, allowing more focused searches and increasing the likelihood of identification, even with prints that have been searched many times in the past.

NamUs is currently the only national database of cases involving unidentified persons, with currently over 13,638 cases.

FBI Acting Assistant Director Eric Pokorak of the Laboratory Division said, “The FBI Laboratory is proud of our partnership with NIJ, the critical forensic support we provide toNAMUS, and through that collaboration offering a degree of solace to the loved ones of the missing.”

Since then, 2,647 fingerprint cards have been examined, resulting in the current total of312 identifications, many of which are cold case homicide investigations. Of that number, 34were homicide victims, and another 83 are undetermined cases which may be homicides.

In one recent case, an unidentified person’s prints were of such poor quality that they could not previously be submitted for fingerprint searches. Using NGI, the decedent was identified as a migrant worker, and the process of finding Next of Kin was started. Had the card not been uploaded into NamUs, the person would have gone unidentified indefinitely.

More information about NamUs and the FBI Latent Print Support Unit can be found at and, respectively.

Information about the National Institute of Justice is available at

Apply Now for Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Funding

The Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998 is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative​​ designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement.

ONE MILLION VESTS: Since 1999, the BVP program has awarded more than 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $522 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests (1,441,013) as of November 2020.

NEW: The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is pleased to announce the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 BVP application funding period. Applications for FY 2021 BVP funds will be accepted beginning April 29, 2021. All applications must be submitted online by 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), June 14, 2021. A SAM registration is required for 2021 BVP applicants.

NEW: The Fiscal Year 2020 BVP awards have been announced. See the complete list of FY 2020 BVP awards.

System for Award Management (SAM) Registration Requirement:  Jurisdictions must be registered in SAM in order to receive access to FY 2018-2020 BVP award funds. Jurisdictions not registered with SAM are strongly encouraged to access the SAM website at as soon as possible in order to obtain information on and complete the online SAM registration process.  For more information about renewing and updating your existing SAM registration, or registering in SAM as a new entity, please visit  The SAM Helpdesk can be reached at 866-606-8220.

Documentation Requirement:  Grantees are required to keep documentation to support the BVP vest application and payment requests for at least a three year period.

Other Federal Funds:  Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds or other federal funding sources may not be used to pay for that portion of the bullet proof vest (50%) that is not covered by BVP funds. JAG or other federal funds may be used to purchase vests for an agency, but they may not be used as the 50% match for BVP purposes.

Uniquely Fitted Armor Vest Requirement – Jurisdictions receiving funding for reimbursement of body armor purchases must have in place a uniquely fitted vest requirement when the FY 2019 BVP applications are submitted.

In the BVP Program, “uniquely fitted vests” means protective (ballistic or stab-resistant) armor vests that conform to the individual wearer to provide the best possible fit and coverage, through a combination of:  

  • 1) correctly-sized panels and carrier, determined through appropriate measurement, and
  • 2) properly adjusted straps, harnesses, fasteners, flaps, or other adjustable features.  

The requirement that body armor be “uniquely fitted” does not necessarily require body armor that is individually manufactured based on the measurements of an individual wearer.  In support of the Office of Justice Programs’ efforts to improve officer safety, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International has made available the Standard Practice for Body Armor Wearer Measurement and Fitting of Armor (Active Standard ASTM E3003) available at no cost.  The Personal Armor Fit Assessment checklist, is excerpted from ASTM E3003.

In addition, a certification section has been added to the 2019 application (in the BVP system) stating the jurisdictions and law enforcement agency are aware of and will comply with this requirement.

NEW! UPDATED Mandatory Wear FAQs

Following two years of declining law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths, the country realized a dramatic 37 percent increase in officer deaths in 2010.  Fifty-nine of the 160 officers killed in 2010 were shot during violent encounters; a 20 percent increase over 2009 numbers.  

The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to improving officer safety and has undertaken research to review and analyze violent encounters and law enforcement officer deaths and injuries.  

Due to the increase in the number of law enforcement officer deaths, coupled with our renewed efforts to improve officer safety, beginning with FY 2011, in order to receive BVP funds, jurisdictions must certify, during the application process, that all law enforcement agencies benefitting from the BVP Program have a written “mandatory wear” policy in effect.  This policy must be in place for at least all uniformed officers before any FY 2011 funding can be used by the agency.  There are no requirements regarding the nature of the policy other than it being a mandatory wear policy for all uniformed officers while on duty.  

BJA strongly encourages agencies to consult the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Model Policy on Body Armor and to strongly consider all recommendations within that policy.  This policy change was announced in October 2010 by Attorney General Holder after consulting with and receiving input from the law enforcement community.

The IACP has very generously provided both its Body Armor Model Policy and position paper to the BVP program.  In order to obtain a copy of the Model Policy and position paper, jurisdictions must be registered with the BVP program.  To obtain a copy of the Model Policy, contact the BVP Customer Support Center at 1-877-758-3787 or email

For additional information regarding this new BVP program requirement, click here.

Justice Department Announces the Opening of Nominations for the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing

U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced the Department of Justice is now accepting nominations for the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. These awards represent part of the Department of Justice’s on-going commitment to support the nation’s law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

“Effective community policing builds trust between law enforcement officers and those they serve, and that trust helps to improve public safety,” said Attorney General Garland. “These awards honor the exceptional dedication and hard work of law enforcement officers who have gone above and beyond in the performance of their duties, and departments that have excelled in their community policing efforts. Policing is a difficult job, for which extraordinary efforts often go unnoticed, and the Department of Justice is proud to publicly recognize these exemplars of community policing.”

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local and tribal sworn, rank- and-file police officers and deputies for exceptional efforts in community policing. The awarded officers, deputies and troopers will have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: criminal investigations, field operations or innovations in policing. Within each category, an award will be given to law enforcement agencies serving small, medium, and large jurisdictions. Those agency sizes are defined as:

Small: agencies serving populations of fewer than 50,000
Medium: agencies serving populations of 50,000 to 250,000
Large: agencies serving populations of more than 250,000

By acknowledging and rewarding these efforts, the department strives to promote and sustain its national commitment to community policing and to advance proactive policing practices that are fair and effective. With the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing, the Office of the Attorney General recognizes that the nation’s law enforcement agencies, officers, deputies, and troopers continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe places to live and work.

The deadline for nominations is May 28, 2021, at 8 p.m. EDT. More information and the application for nominees can be found at: