The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) was created through the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to advance the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information, technical assistance, training and grant resources. The COPS Office is headed by a Director appointed by the Attorney General, and is organized into directorates, comprising key operational divisions and several functional areas.
The major functions of each division are to:
- Advance effective policing practices through the direct award of competitive, discretionary grants to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories.
- Develop innovative programs that respond directly to the emerging needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement, to support law enforcement’s prevention and reaction to crime and disorder.
- Ensure grantees meet the programmatic conditions, terms, and requirements of their awards by conducting strategic on-site visits and enhanced office-based grant reviews for at-risk agencies.
- Engage and support law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve to advance public safety.•Assist law enforcement agencies in implementing Presidential Executive Orders, guidance emanating from the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and other Administration priorities to support law enforcement and effective policing.
- Implement the School Violence Prevention Program to provide grant awards to states, units of local government, Indian tribes, school districts, and law enforcement agencies to improve security at schools to include law enforcement training and measures to improve security (e.g., metal detectors, locks, lighting, and technology for expedited notification of an emergency).
- Implement the National Blue Alert Network, which promotes rapid dissemination of information to law enforcement, the media and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured, or pose an imminent threat to law enforcement, or when an officer is missing in connection with official duties. Implementation includes working with law enforcement agencies to develop Blue Alert plans, issuing voluntary guidelines and recommendations, maintaining a national Blue Alert information repository, providing education and technical assistance, and managing the National Advisory Group comprised of Blue Alert stakeholders.
- Develop and oversee the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program to improve the delivery of, and access to, mental health and wellness services for law enforcement officers through training and technical assistance, demonstration projects, peer mentoring mental health and wellness, and suicide prevention programs.
- Convene stakeholders around the most critical issues in public safety facing our nation, resulting in reports that inform the law enforcement field and move issues forward in policy discussions nationwide.
- Provide subject matter expertise on emerging issues in law enforcement, engaging with leading voices in the field on the critical issues in policing through the management of forums, videos, and audio podcasts.
- Promote collaboration between law enforcement and community members to develop innovative initiatives to prevent crime.
- Partner with law enforcement experts, the academic community, and other stakeholder organizations to develop and produce guidebooks and resources, reports, best practices and other information products for the field that highlight ongoing and new law enforcement issues and/or successful community policing strategies.
- Provide lessons learned from grant funded projects to the law enforcement field across the country.
- Provide, via subject matter policing experts, tailored technical assistance to law enforcement agencies upon request, through its Collaborative Reform Initiative – Technical Assistance Center.
- Develop state-of-the-art training to enhance law enforcement officers’ problem-solving and community interaction skills.
- Manage innovative community policing pilot programs and applied research projects.
- Provide current information about community policing and COPS Office programs to grantees, the public, and the media, as well as representatives of interested local, state, and national organizations and local and state law enforcement and elected officials.
- Ensure timely and accurate responses to and participation in media inquiries, interviews, and public events.