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U.S. Department of Justice: Understanding the Impacts of Policing Strategies and Practices

Deadline: May 14, 2018

The Understanding the Impacts of Policing Strategies and Practices program will support proposals for research and/or evaluation projects to examine the impact of police practices and strategies on: (1) reducing crime, and one or more of the following variables: (2) officer safety; (3) criminal investigations; and (4) criminal prosecutions. Proposals for research examining person- or place-based practices and strategies will be accepted. There is particular interest is in supporting programs that examine the practice of proactive policing and its related strategies, especially “focused deterrence.” Additional interests:

  • With regard to crime reduction, there is an interest on better understanding the effect that police crime-reduction practices and strategies have on crime broadly including, but not limited to, its persistence over time.
  • With regard to officer safety, there is an interest in better understanding how the changes in officer praxis associated with differing crime-reduction practices and strategies affect officer safety. Potential changes in praxis may include: the amount of time an officer spends in a vehicle or on the street (physical excursion and protection barrier); the number and nature of interactions with individuals (confrontational or not); the number of stops an officer makes; and the number of officers that initially are dispatched to a scene.
  • With regard to criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions, there is an interest in better understanding the effect that different police crime-reduction practices and strategies have on the development of evidence with probative value (i.e., whether there is sufficient evidence to bring a charge) and how that effect impacts prosecutorial outcomes. Such evidence may take multiple forms. For example, it may be physical evidence not directly related to a crime scene (e.g., drugs and guns uncovered as the result of a stop-and-frisk encounter); witness/victim statements/testimonies or citizens coming forward with investigative leads; or evidence derived from social media posts; etc.

Applicants should consider the role of intervening variables, such as department and neighborhood characteristics. Practices and strategies can impact police officers and their leadership in unanticipated ways, such as affecting morale, stress and fear, and the actual praxis of the officers in the street. Neighborhood characteristics (e.g., social capital, collective efficacy, and perceptions of procedural justice), may also be intervening variables. Researchers may consider if these relationships are intervening variables between the effects of the practices and strategies on crime, officer safety, criminal investigations, and criminal prosecutions. Research questions of interest in this regard include, but are not limited to:

  • Are there any police department attributes (e.g., size, training opportunities, and specialized units) that act as intervening variables in any of the relationships between police practices and strategies and the four variables considered in this program competition?
  • Are there neighborhood characteristics (e.g., social capital, collective efficacy, poverty, workforce participation, etc.) that act as intervening variables in any of the relationships between police practices and strategies and the four variables considered in this program competition?

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will prioritize studies that conduct longitudinal research, and/or include advanced statistical modeling, applied policy analysis, interdisciplinary research teams, and/or researcher-practitioner partnerships. Applicants are encouraged to use multiple sites, including control sites, where feasible and appropriate. The research should include variables, based on the practices and strategies, about the individuals and/or places where these practices and strategies are implemented, the officers, and the police department, as appropriate.

Amount: A total of $3,000,000 is available (of which $500,000 will be available for research in Indian Country). An applicant should base its federal funding request and period of performance on the actual requirements of the research (award ranges or expected number of awards are not indicated). The period of performance is up to three years.

Eligibility: States (including territories), units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribal governments that perform law enforcement functions, nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations), institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education), and certain qualified individuals. Federal agencies are eligible to apply (any award made to a federal agency will be made as an interagency reimbursable agreement). It is recommended that research organizations be designated as the applicant (the “prime”) making subawards to participating agencies/organizations, as appropriate. Applicants will have, at a minimum, letters of support from collaborating police departments.

Principal Investigators (PIs): To qualify, the proposed PI must at the time of application submission:

  • Hold a non-tenured assistant professor appointment at an accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. or an equivalent full-time staff scientist position at a research institution
  • Have completed their terminal degree or post-graduate clinical training within the 10 years prior to September 30, 2018
  • Have never previously received NIJ funding as a PI on a research project with the exception of Graduate Research Fellows or Data Resources Program grantees

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=301737

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