Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $697,329)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is tasked with collecting objective, timely, and high-quality data from U.S. law enforcement agencies (LEAs). BJS conducts several data collection efforts to achieve this goal, largely relying on a series of establishment surveys since the 1980s. A key LEA collection is the Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA), through which BJS develops and maintains the Law Enforcement Agency Roster (LEAR), from which samples of LEAs are selected for other data collections, such as the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Core (LEMAS-Core). The LEMAS-Core collects information on topics such as agency staffing, operations, budget, policies, technology, and equipment.
Outside of these critical dimensions, BJS has recognized the need to conduct periodic data collections on additional topics critical to practitioners, researchers, and policymakers, which are examined through LEMAS supplemental surveys. The 2023 LEMAS Supplement will focus on two topics: post-academy training and agency resources and responses to officer mental health issues, including officer suicide.
In 2021 and 2022, under the 2019 LECS contract, BJS and the RTI-led LECS team convened a group of practitioners and academic subject matter experts to discuss the development of the LEMAS Supplement on law enforcement in-service training programs. Based on feedback from the panel, RTI led the drafting of a survey instrument and submitted it to the same round of experts for their independent review in January 2022. In 2021, BJS and RTI also began developing questions on mental health resources and responses. RTI is currently conducting cognitive interviews to refine both sets of questions in anticipation of the proposed LEMAS Supplement, which will be fielded in Fall 2023.
To achieve the BJS’s goals and objectives, RTI proposes to organize the 2023 LEMAS Supplement work across five tasks: (1) project management, (2) frame development and sample selection, (3) instrument development, (4) data collection, and (5) data processing and delivery. Outcomes from the 2023 LEMAS Supplement will include datasets and supporting documentation and an updated Law Enforcement Agency Roster file. Through our successful implementation of the 2016 and 2020 LEMAS-Core surveys, our work with BJS to develop the LEMAS Supplement questions, and our continued support of the LECS Program, the RTI team is uniquely qualified to conduct this data collection.