PERF seeking information on the opioid crisis and agencies' responses

As part of PERF's continuing work on the opioid epidemic, we are exploring how opioids are impacting different types of law enforcement agencies in different regions of the United States. As a first step in this project, PERF is seeking input from police and sheriffs' departments on the current nature of the problem, as well as promising practices and partnerships that agencies have developed in response. To gain an accurate picture of the opioid issue across the country, PERF is looking to collect information from urban, suburban and rural jurisdictions, as well as tribal law enforcement and detention facilities.

If you are interested in providing insights on current issues related to opioids in your jurisdiction, and programs or approaches your agency has implemented, please click here to complete a brief contact form. PERF will review the responses to identify agencies that fit the needs of the project and will be in contact to discuss these issues further. Please contact Research Associate Allison Heider ([email protected] or 202-454-8309) with any questions or concerns.


Spotlight on Sheriffs: Reform Efforts in the Denver Sheriff Department

This edition of Spotlight on Sheriffs highlights reforms made in the Denver Sheriff Department. The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) launched a series of reforms in 2014, based on recommendations from several task forces and consulting groups.  To lead the reform efforts, Denver’s mayor named a new Sheriff -- Patrick Firman, who had nearly 30 years of experience in two sheriffs’ departments in Illinois.  DSD employs more than 1,100 personnel, has an annual budget of more than $140 million, and operates two jails with a combined population of nearly 2,200 inmates. In just three years, Sheriff Firman has implemented a wide range of initiatives, including new training; expanding the “direct supervision” model, in which inmates spend more time in open areas interacting with deputies and each other, rather than isolated in their cells; addressing staffing shortages; helping inmates with substance abuse problems, including providing medication-assisted treatment; and beginning re-entry planning for inmates as soon as they enter the jail. Click on the headline above to read more about DSD.


Spotlight on Sheriffs: Innovation in the Polk County, Florida Sheriff's Office

This is the first in a series of Spotlight on Sheriffs special reports. Spotlight on Sheriffs will document operations and innovative practices from sheriffs' offices around the country.  

For this first Spotlight on Sheriffs report, PERF staff members Dan Alioto and Matt Harman visited the Polk County, FL Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) at the invitation of Sheriff Grady Judd in April 2018. Staff met with Sheriff Judd and Chief of Detention Michael Allen, sat in on the sheriff’s command staff briefing, toured the jail facilities, and observed other operations. Click on the headline above to read about the PCSO.


PERF Officer Safety and Wellness Technical Assistance Project

The physical and emotional wellness of officers is critical to law enforcement agencies. Safety and wellness initiatives can facilitate hiring and retention of officers, improve agency culture, boost resilience in the aftermath of a critical incident, and support community policing. The U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has awarded PERF a cooperative agreement to help three law enforcement agencies develop officer safety and wellness programs.

After the three agencies are chosen, PERF and a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) will work with the agency to develop wellness-related needs and goals. PERF and its SMEs will then develop an individualized program, providing each agency with critical policies, practices, resources, information, and hands-on expertise to develop their in-house safety and wellness programs.  Each of the three selected sites will agree to establish a primary point of contact who will work directly with the PERF project team to facilitate site visits, document collection, and interviews.

If your agency would like PERF’s assistance with developing in-house officer safety and wellness programs, please contact Director of Technical Assistance Jessica Toliver at [email protected] to request an application. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Improving Homicide Investigations Technical Assistance Project

With funding from BJA, PERF will be conducting comprehensive assessments of the homicide investigation functions within six police departments that are experiencing increases in crime.  PERF, supported by a team of subject matter experts (SMEs), will undertake these assessments and develop detailed recommendations on how to improve policies, procedures and resources of each of the six police departments’ homicide units.  Based on these recommendations, PERF will develop and deliver an individualized training and technical assistance (TTA) program that will provide these agencies with the critical training, policies, resources, information, and hands-on expertise needed to improve their investigative responses to homicides and overall clearance rates.  If you are interested in utilizing the services provided under this grant please contact Director of TA, Jessica Toliver at [email protected]. Selected sites will agree to establish a homicide process review team and primary point of contact who will work directly with the PERF project staff to facilitate site visits, document collection and interviews. 


Subject to Debate newsletter discusses the use of U Visas by law enforcement agencies



 PERF to Study Precursors to Police Use of Force




New PERF/COPS Office report: "Hiring for the 21st Century Law Enforcement Officer: Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategies for Success"

This report details the findings of a forum hosted by PERF and the COPS Office on hiring and retaining officers who reflect the diversity and character of the communities they serve and have the character and social skills to engage with community members. The forum included experts in police standards, screening, and hiring who provided their insights and recommendations in areas such as psychological screening, educational requirements, promotion policies, and methods for retaining the best officers. Click on the headline above to view the full publication.


"Subject to Debate" newsletter highlights PERF's activities in 2016

The year-end edition of PERF's "Subject to Debate" newsletter provides brief summaries of many of the projects that PERF conducted last year, including our landmark work on the "PERF 30" guiding principles on use of force, and our "ICAT" training for defusing critical incidents.


New PERF/COPS Office report: "Policing Issues in Garrison Communities"

This report summarizes an October 2015 PERF/COPS Office conference on the challenges of policing communities located near military installations. Participants shared promising practices and discussed ways to improve coordination between civilian and military agencies. Click on the headline above to view the full publication.


New PERF/COPS/ONDCP report: "Building Successful Partnerships between Law Enforcement and Public Health Agencies to Address Opioid Use"



U.S. Conference of Mayors commends PERF's Guiding Principles on Use of Force



New content on the Law Enforcement Cyber Center


The Law Enforcement Cyber Center (LECC) continues to be updated with new information to help law enforcement prevent and respond to crimes that involve technology. Recently added content includes an infographic about devices in the home that generate and store data useful to law enforcement, tools police can use to teach their community members how to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime, and a database of local and regional cybercrime resources available to law enforcement. The Law Enforcement Cyber Center can be accessed at