Justice Department to Provide Funding for Body-Worn Cameras to Small, Rural and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies

The Justice Department announced today that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is releasing $7.65 million in a competitive microgrant grant solicitation that will fund body-worn cameras (BWCs) to any law enforcement department with 50 or fewer full-time sworn personnel, rural agencies (those agencies within non-urban or non-metro counties); and federally-recognized Tribal agencies.

“The Justice Department is committed to providing law enforcement with valuable resources to increase accountability and build trust with the communities they serve,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today we encourage all small, rural and Tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding for this important tool that will enhance protection for both officers and citizens.”

“The grant solicitation today will help law enforcement agencies and their communities improve evidentiary outcomes, and enhance the safety of, and improve interactions between, officers and the public,” said Acting Director Kristen Mahoney of BJA. “Importantly, this grant program will make it easier for small, rural and Tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding. It’s an online application that will streamline the grant process for these agencies.”

Funds must be used to purchase or lease body-worn cameras and may include expenses reasonably related to BWC program implementation. Funding can be used to support pilot BWC programs, establish new BWC implementation or expand existing programs.

BJA has selected Justice & Security Strategies Inc. to administer the grant program through a cooperative agreement. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.srtbwc.com. All applications are due by August 31, 2021.

Agencies interested in body-worn camera funding that do not meet the eligibility criteria for small, rural and Tribal as described in the microgrant solicitation should note that the FY 2021 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies grant solicitation is currently open. That solicitation will close on July 12, 2021. The anticipated total amount to be awarded under that solicitation is $27.5 million.

Today’s announcement follows Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s recent memo  to the department’s law enforcement components directing them to develop and submit for review their plans for BWC policies that require agents to wear and activate BWC recording equipment for purposes of recording their actions during: (1) a pre-planned attempt to serve an arrest warrant or other pre-planned arrest, including the apprehension of fugitives sought on state and local warrants; or (2) the execution of a search or seizure warrant or order. The Deputy Attorney General will work with the department’s law enforcement components in the coming weeks to review their policies and finalize implementation plans. 

For resources to support the development and implementation of body-worn camera programs, the Department of Justice has created a Body-Worn Camera Tool Kit.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance helps to make American communities safer by strengthening the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA’s grants, cooperative agreements, training and technical assistance and policy development services provide state, local and Tribal governments with the cutting-edge tools and best practices they need to reduce violent and drug-related crime, support law enforcement and combat victimization.

BJA is a component of the Office of Justice ProgramsU.S. Department of Justice. The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov

Missouri governor, AG Send Defiant Response to Justice Department Over Gun Law

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Missouri Governor Mike Parson

 
Story By Summer Ballentine (Associated Press)​ for ​KSDK

Missouri’s Republican governor and attorney general said in a defiant letter to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday that they stand by the state’s new law that would ban police from enforcing federal gun rules.

Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote that they still plan to enforce the new law, which Parson signed Saturday. The measure would penalize local police departments if their officers​​ enforce federal gun laws.

Schmitt and Parson wrote that they will “fight tooth and nail” to defend the right to own guns as spelled out in the state constitution and the new law.

“We will not tolerate any attempts by the federal government to deprive Missourians of this critical civil right,” they wrote.

In a letter sent Wednesday night and obtained by The Associated Press, Justice Department officials pointed out that federal law trumps state law under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

Brian Boynton, an acting assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in the letter that Missouri’s law threatens to disrupt the working relationship between federal and local law enforcement and noted that the state receives federal grants and technical assistance.

Prosecutors in Missouri’s attorney general’s office have already withdrawn from nearly two dozen federal drug, gun and carjacking cases in St. Louis, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. They had been working with federal counterparts as part of the Safer Streets initiative that Schmitt touted in 2019. Attorneys from Schmitt’s office were deputized as assistant U.S. attorneys to help prosecute violent crimes.

Missouri’s new law would subject law enforcement agencies with officers who knowingly enforce federal gun laws to a fine of about $50,000 per violating officer.

Boynton said Missouri’s law “conflicts with federal firearms laws and regulation” and that federal law would supersede the state’s new statute. He said federal agents and the U.S. attorney’s offices in the state would continue to enforce all federal firearms laws and regulations. He asked that Parson and Schmitt clarify the law and how it would work in a response by Friday.

Republican lawmakers who pushed Missouri’s new law said they were motivated by the potential for more restrictive gun laws under Democratic President Joe Biden. But state Democrats argued that it is unconstitutional and would likely get overturned if challenged in court.

Similar bills were introduced in more than a dozen other states this year, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a so-called Second Amendment sanctuary.

Several states passed similar laws under then-president Barack Obama, though judges have ruled against them.

Justice Department Issues Proposed Rule and Model Legislation to Reduce Gun Violence

​From the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs:  New Steps Would Enhance Enforcement of the National Firearms Act and Aid States in Drafting “Extreme Risk Protection Order” Laws

 

Today, the Department of Justice announced two new steps to help address the continuing epidemic of gun violence affecting communities across the country.

First, the department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that makes clear that when individuals use accessories to convert pistols into short-barreled rifles, they must comply with the heightened regulations on those dangerous and easily concealable weapons.

Second, the department published model legislation to help states craft their own “extreme risk protection order” laws, sometimes called “red flag” laws. By sending the proposed rule to the Federal Register and publishing the model legislation today, the department has met the deadlines that the Attorney General announced alongside President Biden in April. 

“The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today we continue to deliver on our promise to help save lives while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans. We welcome the opportunity to work with communities in the weeks and months ahead in our shared commitment to end gun violence.”

The department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would make clear that the statutory restrictions on short-barreled rifles apply to pistols that are equipped with certain stabilizing braces and intended to be fired from the shoulder.

The National Firearms Act imposes heightened regulations on short-barreled rifles because they are easily concealable, can cause great damage, and are more likely to be used to commit crimes. But companies now sell accessories that make it easy for people to convert pistols into these more dangerous weapons without going through the statute’s background check and registration requirements.

These requirements are important public safety measures because they regulate the transfer of these dangerous weapons and help ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands. The proposed rule would clarify when these attached accessories convert pistols into weapons covered by these heightened regulations.

Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 90 days to submit comments.  To view the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, please see here.

The department also published model legislation and detailed commentary that will make it easier for states to craft “extreme risk protection orders” authorizing courts to temporarily bar people in crisis from accessing firearms.

By allowing family members or law e​​nforcement to intervene and to petition for these orders before warning signs turn into tragedy, “extreme risk protection orders” can save lives. They are also an evidence-based approach to the problem.

The model legislation, developed after consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, provides a framework that will help more states enact these sensible laws.

To read the model legislation, please see here.

To learn more about the rulemaking process, please see here.

 

Photo from gunsmagazine.com

DOJ Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Request

Proposal Reinvigorates Civil Rights Enforcement, Counters International and Domestic Terrorism, Combats Violent Crime and Gun Violence, Advances Environmental Justice, Invests in Community Policing, Addresses Inequities in the Nation’s Criminal Justice System, and Reduces the Immigration Court Backlog

The President today submitted his Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 to Congress, totaling $35.3 billion for the Department of Justice (DOJ).  

The request seeks to sustain and enhance the Justice Department’s vital work to counter both international and domestic terrorism, reinvigorate civil rights enforcement, address inequities in the nation’s criminal justice system, combat gun violence, advance environmental justice and help reduce the backlog in the nation’s immigration courts.

“This budget proposal advances the Justice Department’s three overarching goals: keeping Americans safe, adhering to the Rule of Law, and seeking equal justice under law for everyone,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “These funds will strengthen our ability to counter international and domestic terrorism, support our efforts to curb violent crime, enhance our enforcement of voting rights and other civil rights laws, protect our nation from cyber-attacks, and double our resources dedicated to addressing gender-based violence and the support of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our request will increase public safety through investments in policing and criminal justice reform, as well as by dedicating funds to combating gun violence. Importantly, this budget makes a down payment on improving access to justice, a prerequisite to equal justice. The department looks forward to working with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to help secure its timely passage.”

At the Department of Justice, the Budget would provide:

  • More than $1.5 billion to combat international and domestic terrorism – an increase of more than 12% over the FY 2021– which includes an additional $101.2 million to address domestic terrorism with a broadscale approach across the Department.
  • $2.1 billion, an increase of $184.3 million, to combat gun violence while focusing on programs that address both gun safety and violent crime.
  • $177.2 million over the FY 2021 appropriation to reinvigorate Federal civil rights efforts, including to re-establish and expand the Office for Access to Justice and to support the Community Relations Service with conciliators in local communities.
  • $1.0 billion, an increase of $486.5 million, to address gender-based violence through the Office on Violence Against Women, nearly twice the FY 2021 investment in this effort.
  • $1.6 billion, an increase of $669.3 million, to implement further reforms to the criminal justice system and continue critical investment in implementation of the First Step Act of 2018.
  • $1.3 billion, an increase of $379.8 million, to support programs designed to further strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
  • $44.0 million in new resources to advance environmental justice initiatives, including facilities modernization and repair.
  • $177.5 million more than FY 2021 to reduce the immigration court backlog and fund new legal support efforts for children and families.
  • $1.1 billion, an increase of $150.7 million, to augment Cyber Investigations and Cyber Security.

Countering International and Domestic Terrorism

As the Nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice is devoted to a broad-scale approach to counter the threat of both international and domestic terrorism. While the United States has seen unprecedented and troubling levels of domestic violent extremism, the department and its law enforcement agencies remain acutely aware of the threats posed by international terrorist organizations. The budget request includes increased funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the principal DOJ law enforcement agency charged with combating terrorism, to conduct domestic terrorism investigations, and for the U.S. Attorneys to manage increasing domestic terrorism caseloads. Further, the budget will support additional response capabilities at the U.S. Marshals Service and support research on the root causes of domestic radicalization at the National Institute of Justice.

The FY 2022 budget invests more than $1.5 billion to combat international and domestic terrorism, including an additional an $101.2 million to address the rising threat of domestic terrorism. 

Combating Violent Crime and Gun Violence

The Department is committed to addressing the epidemic of gun violence and other violent crime that has taken the lives of too many people in our communities. As part of the department’s recently announced strategy to reduce violent crime, including through grantmaking opportunities, the budget request establishes innovative new grants for States to incentivize Red Flag and Gun Licensing Laws; creates a new $100 million Community Violence Intervention Initiative to tackle gun violence in our neighborhoods; provides grants for Project Safe Neighborhoods, and expands ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. A new pilot program promotes the development, adoption and use of programs designed to help communities address situations where people become legally prohibited from possessing the firearms they own. 

The FY 2022 budget invests $2.1 billion to address gun violence and gun safety, an increase of $184.3 million over FY 2021. 

Reinvigorating Civil Rights Efforts 

Protecting our Nation’s civil rights is a top priority for the Department, as far too many of our citizens still face discrimination. To help protect marginalized communities, the budget request includes funding to re-establish the Office for Access to Justice, and increases funding for the Civil Rights Division, the Community Relations Service, the Office of Justice Programs and the Office on Violence Against Women. These funds will support the enforcement of voting rights and the protection of constitutional and civil rights; mediation and conciliation services for community conflicts arising from discriminatory practices; the prosecution of hate crimes across the nation, especially in communities uniquely impacted by bias, xenophobia and hate driven by the COVID-19 pandemic; and other civil rights activities.

The FY 2022 budget invests a total of $307.2 million in civil rights efforts, an increase of $177.2 million over FY 2021

Addressing Inequities in the Criminal Justice System

The Department’s budget request addresses the need to ensure equal justice for all Americans. The budget request prioritizes improving community relations through the Office of Justice Programs. The budget request establishes new programs for community-based alternatives to prison, expands the Part B Formula Grants, and increases funding for the Second Chance Act program. The Department will implement Executive Order 14006 by transferring Federal Prisoner Detention detainees from privately operated to alternate State, local, and Federal facilities with an additional $75.0 million. Finally, the budget continues the historic investment of $409.5 million by the Bureau of Prisons in the First Step Act.

The FY 2022 budget invests over $1.6 billion to address inequities in the criminal justice system in America, an increase of $669.3 million over FY 2021 levels. 

Investing in Community Policing 

Creating strong, positive ties between law enforcement and the communities they serve is critical to making the Nation’s communities safer and to rooting out systemic inequities in the justice system. Providing resources to police departments to help them reform and gain the trust of communities is a priority of this Department and this Administration. The department’s budget addresses the need to further strengthen relationships between communities and police officers by hiring local police officers and investing in racial sensitivity, hate crime and implicit bias training.

The FY 2022 budget invests a total of $1.3 billion to support law enforcement agencies, including through programs that support community-oriented policing policies and practices, as well as training for law enforcement on racial profiling, de-escalation and the duty to intervene. This is a $379.8 million increase over the FY 2021 level. 

Advancing Environmental Justice

The Department is committed advancing environmental justice and supports the President’s Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” The Executive Order establishes a “whole-of-government” approach to addressing the climate crisis and formalizes the government’s commitment to environmental justice. The budget request includes increased funding for the Environment and Natural Resources Division to expand its use of existing authorities in affirmative cases to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change and to continue defensive and other work related to climate change. In addition, the Bureau of Prison will invest in energy saving modernization and repair projects to replace aging equipment with energy efficient models, resulting in reduced energy costs and consumption, as well as other environmentally-sound operational benefits. 

The FY 2022 budget invests $44.0 million to advance environmental justice, tackle climate change, and enhance environmental stability. 

Reducing the Immigration Court Backlog

Although the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has doubled the number of Immigration Judges onboard since 2015, caseloads continue to grow at an even faster pace, and processing times continue to increase due to a rise in the number of complex adjudications, such as those of asylum claims. The FY 2022 budget addresses this challenge by both providing additional Immigration Judges, and by promoting efficiency initiatives within EOIR. The request supports hiring 100 new Immigration Judges, as well as necessary support staff and attorneys. The request would also enable EOIR to continue to modernize its IT capabilities. 

The FY 2022 budget invests $177.5 million in new resources to reduce the immigration court backlog, as well as create the Legal Representation for Immigrant Children and Families Pilot, which supports the enhancement of legal representation of immigrant children and families who seek asylum and other forms of legal protection in the United States after entering at the borders. 

DOJ Announces New Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on May 26 announced a new Department of Justice effort to help protect our communities from the recent increase in major violent crimes.

“Today, we renew our commitment to reducing violent crime and building strong communities where all Americans are safe,” said Attorney General Garland. “The Deputy Attorney General is issuing a comprehensive strategy to deploy our federal resources in the most effective way, disrupting the most dangerous threats and supporting the ground-level efforts of local law enforcement.  In this endeavor, we will engage our communities as critical partners. And through our grantmaking, we will support programming at all stages – from the earliest violence interruption strategies to post-conviction reentry services.”

The strategy announced today is three-pronged. First, it establishes a set of four fundamental principles to be applied Department-wide to guide violent crime reduction:

  1. Build trust and earn legitimacy. Meaningful law enforcement engagement with, and accountability to, the community are essential underpinnings of any effective strategy to address violent crime, as well as important ends in themselves. Accordingly, building trust and earning legitimacy within our communities is the foundation on which the strategy is built. 
  2. Invest in prevention and intervention programs. Violent crime is not a problem that can be solved by law enforcement alone. Accordingly, the Department must invest in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs that work to keep violence from happening before it occurs.
  3. Target enforcement efforts and priorities. The Department is most effective when it focuses its limited enforcement resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of gun violence and other violent crime.
  4. Measure results. Because the fundamental goal of this work is to reduce the level of violence in our communities, not to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves—we must measure the results of our efforts on these grounds.

The whole-of-Department approach means that these four fundamental principles will guide not only the Department’s 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, but also its law enforcement components (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS)),  its grant-making components (the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC)), and litigating divisions, such as the Criminal Division.

Second, the strategy enhances the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program by directing all U.S. Attorneys across the country to update their PSN programs to be aligned with the Department’s guiding principles to improve community engagement, support proven community-violence intervention programs, develop strategic enforcement plans in coordination with state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners as well as community groups, and measure the effectiveness of these collective efforts to reduce violence. By drawing on lessons learned from research and experience over the past two decades, the Department will help ensure that PSN remains the leading initiative bringing together law enforcement partners at all levels and a broad array of community stakeholders to develop comprehensive solutions to the more pressing violent crime problems in our communities. 

Third, the strategy directs each U.S. Attorney’s Office to work with its state, local, federal, Tribal, and community partners to establish an immediate plan to address spikes in violent crime that are typically seen during the summer.

The Department recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and that the needs of each jurisdiction will vary based on the nature of violent crimes and the ability of local criminal justice systems to respond. Thus, the Department has committed to providing the following additional support where it is needed and appropriate:

  • The FBI will make available cutting-edge analytical resources to support state and local law enforcement efforts to identify the most violent offenders and most dangerous criminal organizations in communities.  The FBI will then deploy agents to assist with enforcement operations targeting these entities. 
  • Where feasible, the ATF will embed with local homicide units and expand the availability of its NIBIN Correlation Center, which matches ballistics from crime scenes to other ballistic evidence nationwide.
  • The DEA will focus its efforts, in coordination with state, local and Tribal law enforcement, to disrupt the activities of the most violent drug trafficking gangs and egregious drug-trafficking organizations operating in the highest-crime areas.
  • The United States Marshals Service, in coordination with state and local authorities, will conduct fugitive sweeps throughout the country focused on individuals subject to state or local warrants for homicide, aggravated assault with a firearm, aggravated robbery, robbery with a firearm, rape or aggravated sexual assault.
  • The Department’s grantmaking components will highlight funding opportunities for community programs focused on reducing gun violence and other violent crime, share information about effective community-violence intervention programs, and provide training and technical assistance to support the violent crime reduction work of state, local, tribal and community partners.

To learn more, see the Deputy Attorney General’s detailed guidance to federal prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and other components across the Department of Justice.  A Fact Sheet on 2021 Grant Opportunities and Other Resources to Support Violent Crime Reduction can be found here.

Deadline Extended for the Fifth Annual AG Award for Distinguished Service in Policing

The Department of Justice has extended the nomination deadline for the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing. The nomination period is now open until Monday, June 28, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET. Detailed information regarding the nomination process for this award is available at www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.  

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 fewer than 50,000
  • Medium: Agencies serving populations 50,000 to 250,000
  • Large: Agencies serving populations over 250,000

Nominations may be submitted by the potential recipient’s supervisors, professional peers, or members of their local community.  Nominations may include references and URL links to news sources and promotional or other materials that describe or substantiate the activity, program, or initiative for which the nominee(s) is being nominated. Please note: Nominee(s) (rank-and-file officers, deputies, and troopers) must be in a non-supervisory position at the time the nominated event, activities, and/or programs occurred to be an eligible candidate for this award.

Nominations must be submitted through the web-based application form in the following format. The online application will direct the nominating individuals to complete the following fields:

  1. Name and rank of nominee(s) (must be rank-and-file officers, deputies, or troopers in a nonsupervisory position), the lead agency name, and the size of population served by the agency
  2. Name and affiliation of the nominating individual
  3. Nomination category for the action(s), program(s), or initiative(s) for which the nominee(s) is being nominated (Criminal Investigations, Field Operations, or Innovations in Policing)
  4. A detailed description of the specific action(s), program(s), or initiative(s) of the nominee(s) for which s/he is being nominated
  5. Agency point of contact information

To nominate someone for this award, please visit https://www.justice.gov/ag/webform/policing-award-nomination. Nominations must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday, June 28, 2021. In the event that agencies or other nominating parties are unable to access the online application, nomination letters may be sent via email. The nomination letter should be no longer than three pages and should include the fields listed here. Nominations submitted in letter format must be sent via email to dojpolicingawards@usdoj.gov by 8:00 p.m. ET on Monday, June 28, 2021.

Please direct all general inquiries to dojpolicingawards@usdoj.gov

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 www.namus.gov and https://www.fbi.gov/services/laboratory/biometric-analysis/latent-print, respectively.

Information about the National Institute of Justice is available at www.nij.gov.

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 https://www.sam.gov/SAM/ 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 https://fsd.gov/fsd-gov/answer.do?sysparm_number=KB0011081.  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 vests@usdoj.gov.

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: https://www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.

Justice Department Announces Newly Translated Online Hate Crimes Resources

Friday, April 23, during the 40th Anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), the Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative announced newly translated hate crimes resources in eight languages for the department’s hate crimes website, www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.

The website, which has been visited by over one million users since launching in 2018, now features new pages in Simplified ChineseTraditional ChineseVietnameseKoreanTagalogArabic, and Japanese. These pages include basic information about hate crimes, in-language resources, and instructions on reporting hate crimes to the FBI Tip Line with assistance from qualified interpreters. Experience has proven that communicating in-language with people who are limited English proficient (LEP) is a crucial step to combating hate crimes nationally.  

There has been an alarming rise in violence, harassment, and discrimination directed at the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The new in-language pages can help victims and witnesses who are limited English proficient recognize and report hate crimes. The website also has a new English language page with links to resources and news addressing hate targeting AAPI communities. www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/addressing-hate-crimes-against-AAPI. The page includes a link to the FBI’s Hate Crime Threat Guide. The Threat Guide, a single-page chart describing types of hate crime threats (physical, verbal, phoned, electronic, written, or visual), lists recommended responses, including steps to preserve evidence. The Guide is now available in Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

The Spanish language hate crimes site, www.justice,gov/hatecrimes-espanol, also has expanded content, such as up-to-date hate crimes statistics, case examples, Spanish language resources, and a map of which states have hate crimes laws. 

“Supporting victims of hate crimes is an essential part of the department’s mission, and an important measure of our success,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People with limited English proficiency, and the advocates and community leaders who work with them, face additional barriers to seeking justice. We hope that these new in-language resources help the department and our partners more effectively support victims of hate crimes, build trust, and engage communities. We will continue to expand the number of languages on www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.”

Today’s announcements are just one part of the department’s work to combat discrimination and violence through capacity building, training, support and outreach to our partners, including those that work with AAPI communities or members of the public who have limited English proficiency.   

On Jan. 26, President Biden issued the “Presidential Memorandum Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States,” which mandates that the Attorney General shall:

  • explore opportunities to support, consistent with applicable law, the efforts of state and local agencies, as well as AAPI communities and community-based organizations, to prevent discrimination, bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI individuals, and
  • expand collection of data and public reporting regarding hate incidents against such individuals.

For more information on the Justice Department’s work to combat and prevent hate crimes, visit www.justice.gov/hatecrimes, a one-stop portal with links to hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other organizations and individuals.  For more information about ensuring language access and the concentration of, and languages spoken by, persons with limited English proficiency in a county, state, or judicial district, visit www.lep.gov/  

           

لقد حل الأسبوع الوطني لحقوق ضحايا الجرائم.  هذا الأسبوع، وعلى مدار العام، نود أن يعلم ضحايا جرائم الكراهية أنهم ليسوا وحدهم. لمعرفة المزيد من المعلومات عن جرائم الكراهية والتعرف على كيفية طلب المساعدة، يرجى زيارة الموقع: www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-arabic  (Arabic)

本周是“全国犯罪受害者权利周”。 本周,乃至全年,我们想要让仇恨犯罪的受害者知道他们并不孤单。 要了解更多关于仇恨犯罪的信息和了解您可以如何求助,请访问:www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-simplified-chinese  (Simplified Chinese)

本週是「全國犯罪受害者權利週」。本週,乃至全年,我們想讓仇恨犯罪的受害者知道他們並不孤單。要瞭解更多關於仇恨犯罪的資訊和瞭解您可以如何求助,請訪問:www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-traditional-chinese (Traditional Chinese)

全国犯罪被害者の権利週間です。今週そして年間を通じ、自分は一人ではないということをヘイトクライム被害者に知っていただきたいです。ヘイトクライムの詳細および助けの求め方を知るには:www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-japanese (Japanese)

전국 범죄 희생자의 권리 주간입니다.  이번 주 그리고 연중 내내, 저희는 증오 범죄의 희생자들이 혼자가 아니라는 것을 알게 되길 바랍니다.  증오 범죄에 대해 더 자세히 알고 도움을 요청할 수 있는 방법에 대해  알아보려면 다음을 방문해 주십시오:  www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-korean (Korean)

Pambansang Linggo ng mga Karapatan ng Biktima ng Krimen ngayon.  Ang linggo ito, at sa buong taon, nais naming iparating sa mga biktima ng poot na hindi sila nag-iisa.  Para malaman pa ang tungkol sa mga krimen ng poot at para malaman kung paano kayo hihingi ng tulong, bisitahin ang: www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-tagalog (Tagalog)

Đã đến Tuần lễ Quyền của Nạn nhân Tội phạm Quốc gia.  Tuần này, và trong suốt cả năm, chúng tôi muốn các nạn nhân của tội ác thù hận biết rằng họ không đơn độc.  Để tìm hiểu thêm về tội ác thù hận và tìm hiểu cách bạn có thể yêu cầu trợ giúp, vui lòng truy cập: www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/translated-get-help-vietnamese (Vietnamese)