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BJA National Initiatives: Academies and Constitutional Policing

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)

Constitutional policing is foundational to police-community relationships. However, there is not currently a level of consistency or intentionality about what is taught or how it is taught in law enforcement academies. Unfortunately, some law enforcement practices and policies, especially in the areas of racial bias, use of force, interactions with persons with mental illness, and search, seizure, and arrest, create the conditions for officers to engage in unconstitutional behavior.  Most law enforcement liability exposures relate directly to constitutional policing.  A change in training is critical to advancing fair and just policing.

The proposed 24-month project will gather subject matter experts, review existing training curricula, identify opportunities for improvement, and provide technical assistance to police training centers on improved curricula in constitutional policing.

The project will have goals to: (1.) Conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of local and state police academy training curricula, as well as international law enforcement agency training (where applicable), to identify promising practices and gaps that aid in the development of updated curricula and promote tenets of constitutional policing for adaptation by academies, and (2.) By request of state and local law enforcement agencies, review and evaluate police academy practices, protocols, training, and subject matter content to provide recommendations for enhancing training so it aligns with core constitutional and evidence-based standards.

IADLEST will achieve Goal 1 by convening an advisory board of law enforcement executives, researchers, and training directors to identify existing and predicted needs of academies and law enforcement agencies, collect the data and act upon its recommendations and findings. 

Goal 2 will be achieved by implementing a strategy to promote the availability of technical assistance (TA) by Subject Matter Experts through virtual coaching and promotion of opportunities for TA on IADLEST and BJA outreach platforms.  The keystone of the project will be the development of a model constitutional policing training curriculum, applicable to both basic and in-service training. The model training curriculum will be developed early in the TA phase for deployment as a template in future TA requests. The model curriculum will be made available through the National Law Enforcement Knowledge Lab.

IADLEST is the organization that is uniquely qualified to perform the proposed project.  It is the only organization with the relationships with and the direct outreach to all the nation’s police academies.  It has expertise in the responsible management and administration of federally funded grants and cooperative agreements.

Date Created: September 29, 2022