Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $4,984,036)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) collects objective, timely, high-quality data from U.S. law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Data collection efforts are hampered by the complicated, decentralized structure of American policing, operated by local, county, state, tribal, and special jurisdictions. Successful execution of BJS’s law enforcement data collection portfolio requires subject-matter expertise in policing, experience with testing and refining survey instruments to ensure integrity of key concepts, flexible data collection tools, ability to carry out multimodal agency outreach, and capability to identify emerging topics and develop related instrumentation.
The purpose of the Law Enforcement Core Statistics (LECS) Program is to enumerate and describe the variations and characteristics of U.S. LEAs through the 2024 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) core, 2026 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (CSLLEA), and a 2027 LEMAS supplement. Collections will be facilitated by work to improve the reliability and timeliness of the Law Enforcement Agency Roster (LEAR), managed by the Agency Records Management System (ARMS). A topical supplement to the LEMAS will also be developed. Key objectives of the 2023 LECS program will include maintaining consistency with critical items of past LEMAS and CSLLEA collections, developing a and conducting a LEMAS supplement, ensuring high response rates and representativeness, investigating the feasibility of conducting more frequent LEMAS surveys, and developing streamlined methods of universe maintenance.
RTI International staff offer BJS their expertise in law enforcement research, and they understand the data needs of stakeholders. The team of subject matter experts, statisticians, programmers, survey methodologists, and data collection managers have demonstrated an ability to successfully address the challenges of maintaining frame integrity, collecting high-quality data from LEAs, and delivering well-documented and accurate datasets. During the 2015 and 2019 LECS projects, the RTI team has conducted the 2016 LEMAS, 2018 CSLLEA, 2020 LEMAS, and 2022 CSLLEA; created and maintained the LEAR; and performed the research and development activities called for. RTI has partnered with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to carry out the 2023 LECS. Furthermore, the RTI/IACP team has demonstrated its ability to work closely with other policing stakeholders to produce letters of support for the LEMAS and CSLLEA. Outcomes from the 2023 LECS will include datasets and supporting documentation for the 2024 LEMAS, 2026 CSLLEA, and LEMAS supplement; an updated LEAR file and source code associated with ARMS; and a feasibility report on conducting more frequent iterations of LEMAS.