Monday, January 16, 2017

Emerging Issues for Improving the Law Enforcement Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence: Three New Reports Now Available

Courtesy of Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson, Ph.D., of the Office on Violence Against Women

OVW is pleased to announce the release of several documents that address emerging issues related to improving the law enforcement response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  The documents reflect input from diverse stakeholders and were developed in conjunction with OVW’s national technical assistance providers.

Body Worn Cameras – The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) hosted a roundtable, in conjunction with OVW, to bring stakeholders together to discuss how law enforcement’s use of body worn cameras presents both opportunities and complex challenges that must be carefully considered as this technology evolves and the use of these cameras become more commonplace.  The roundtable report, Deliberations from the IACP National Forum onBody-Worn Cameras and Violence Against Women, highlights the importance of addressing the privacy rights, safety and autonomy of victims of domestic and sexual violence as agencies develop policies and protocols and the importance of developing those policies in collaboration with advocacy organizations and other community and criminal justice partners.

Open Police Data Initiatives – The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), in partnership with OVW, brought together advocates, experts on victim privacy and safety, researchers and data experts to discuss how open police data initiatives can impact the privacy and safety of intimate partner violence victims, and how open police data can benefit the victim services field and the public.  Based on stakeholder input from the roundtable and other focus groups, NNEDV, in collaboration with the Police Foundation, published How Law Enforcement Agencies Releasing Open Data CanProtect Victim Safety and Privacy The document explores issues to consider as communities begin using mechanisms that increase transparency of law enforcement responses while also protecting victim privacy and confidentiality.  It suggests practices and protocols that balance the potential value of open data with potential negative consequences of sharing the data publicly.

Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Policing - In December 2015, the Department of Justice issued “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law EnforcementResponse to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence” to highlight the need for clear policies, robust training and responsive accountability systems.  In August 2016, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, in partnership with OVW, led a roundtable with stakeholders (including law enforcement, advocates and researchers) to discuss and develop concrete recommendations and strategies to integrate and implement the eight guiding principles in the Justice Department’s guidance.  The roundtable participants discussed how law enforcement agencies and sexual and domestic violence advocates can use the guidance to promote systemic changes within law enforcement agencies.  A summary of the roundtable discussion, Ending Gender Bias in the Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, is now available on the Battered Women’s Justice Project website Additional resources can be found on OVW’s gender bias webpage and on IACP’s Police Response to Violence Against Women webpage.  Additionally, in October 2016, OVW and the Office for Victims of Crime announced that they had awarded 10 grants worth $9.85 million to various national and local organizations who will use the funding to implement the Justice Department’s guidance and develop resources to assist other jurisdictions in their efforts.  Read more about the awards in the press release.  

OVW hopes that these documents and tools will be helpful for law enforcement and victim advocacy organizations across the country as they continue to work together to strengthen a coordinated community response, improve policies to respond to emerging issues and enhance services and support for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Friday, January 13, 2017

New Solicitation: Comprehensive School Safety Initiative

NIJ is soliciting applications for CSSI funding in five categories. The first three categories are focused on developing knowledge about what works to make schools safe using a tiered evidence approach. The tiered evidence framework is based on a continuum of evidence that builds from early stage evaluations of innovative programs to highly rigorous evaluations of programs that are ready to scale-up. Increasing amounts of funding are awarded to programs of research according to their level of evidence effectiveness. In recent years, multiple federal grant making agencies (e.g., Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor) have used tiered evidence frameworks to build increasingly rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of youth programs.

The three categories focused on developing knowledge through this tiered evidence approach are:
           Developing Novel and Innovative School Safety Programs, Practices, and Strategies
           Demonstration, Evaluation and Validation Tests for School Safety
           Expanding the use of Effective Interventions through Scaling-up

This solicitation will also include funding categories to support research on causes and consequences of school safety issues as well as assessments of school safety issues in tribal communities.
           Research on School Safety
           Understanding School Safety in Tribal Schools

Applications should feature close coordination involving state education agencies (SEAs) or local education agencies (LEAs) (including public charter schools that are recognized as LEAs) and a researcher or research organization that has considerable experience conducting research and evaluation, preferably, in school settings. NIJ recommends that the research organization serve as the applicant and make one or more subawards to participating SEAs or LEAs.

The deadline for applications under this funding opportunity is March 24.

Seven Time Drug Felon Sentenced to 21 Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing a Firearm

ATLANTA - Quinton Jackson, a/k/a Quinton Smith, a/k/a Jaquavious Dixon, has been sentenced to 21 years and 10 months’ imprisonment for possessing a firearm after having been convicted of six prior drug felony offenses.  Because of his extensive prior criminal record, Jackson was sentenced as an Armed Career Criminal under federal law.

“Jackson reached for a firearm when stopped for routine traffic violation, and fortunately APD officers quickly subdued him and resolved the situation without injury to anyone involved,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “Unlawfully possessed weapons are a serious threat to the safety and security of our communities, especially in the hands of dangerous criminals.”

“This sentence is another reminder that ATF and our law enforcement partners will hold individuals accountable for any criminal behavior, especially that which threatens the safety of innocent civilians,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Schmidt.

“For Atlanta to be a safe city, we must continue to get repeat offenders off our streets,” said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields.  “A routine traffic stop was the key to holding Mr. Jackson accountable for his various crimes.  Our relationships with our law enforcement partners allow us to remove not only weapons but serious criminals from the City of Atlanta.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court:  On August 22, 2014, Jackson was traveling through the Boulevard Corridor in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.  Atlanta police officers patrolling the area stopped Jackson’s vehicle for a traffic violation.  While approaching the vehicle, an officer noticed Jackson reaching under the driver’s seat.  Police then ordered Jackson to stop reaching and open the driver’s window so that an officer could speak with Jackson.  After Jackson refused, officers removed Jackson from his vehicle and seized a firearm from underneath the driver’s seat where Jackson had been reaching.  Heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine also were discovered in a bag concealed within the console.

Law enforcement later questioned Jackson who admitted that he sold drugs, notwithstanding his six previous felony drug convictions.  Jackson also admitted that he had been reaching under the seat for the firearm because he did not want to return to prison, suggesting to the officers that Jackson would have resorted to violence to escape the law.  Later investigation revealed that during a traffic stop earlier that summer Jackson had dragged another Atlanta police officer down the road when that officer’s arm became trapped in Jackson’s vehicle as Jackson fled the traffic stop.

Because five of Jackson’s drug convictions constituted “serious drug offenses” under federal law, Jackson qualified as an Armed Career Criminal subject to an enhanced sentence.

Quinton Jackson, a/k/a Quinton Smith, a/k/a Jaquavious Dixon, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 21 years, 10 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.  Jackson had been found guilty by a jury on July 13, 2016.

This case was investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Atlanta Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Ryan M Christian prosecuted the case.