New Online Course to Help Law Enforcement Leaders Support Safe, Smart Pretrial Decisions

By Jennifer Styles posted 04-26-2017 17:21


The inconsistency of policy and guidelines for pretrial release can create volatile public safety challenges for law enforcement and communities. Law enforcement is the first line and most public face of the justice system, yet historically, law enforcement leaders were not actively engaged in pretrial decisions beyond what happens at the initial arrest. Like community members, officers often express frustration with the revolving door of the justice system, through which potentially dangerous individuals may be promptly released back into the community on bond, while low-level, non-violent offenders, often with mental health and addiction issues, cycle back through the system without getting the services they need.

With these challenges in mind, more law enforcement agencies are engaging in innovative pre-arrest, pre-booking, and pretrial justice system programs that provide pathways to treatment and services for eligible individuals, account for the safety of crime victims, and build stronger relationships between law enforcement and communities.

IACP’s Pretrial Justice Initiative is pleased to partner with the Pretrial Justice Institute to introduce two online courses for the University of Pretrial. The Pretrial Justice and Law Enforcement: What Chiefs Need to Know and What Officers Need to Know courses are important new tools to help law enforcement learn more about the complexities of the pretrial justice system and explore risk-based solutions and pretrial partnerships that maximize public safety and support strong community-police relationships. These courses can also help other justice system agencies learn more about law enforcement’s role in the system, so that they can forge stronger partnerships that will benefit the whole system.

These courses include:

  • An overview of the history and fundamentals of the pretrial justice system, bail, and preventative detention
  • Risk- and evidence-based solutions for common law enforcement challenges that support 21st Century Policing principles and maximize public safety
  • A case study on citation on lieu of arrest practices at the Rapid City, South Dakota, Police Department
  • Resources to develop and enhance effective justice system partnerships

Access the courses here!

Research by Lake Research Partners suggests that, on the topic of pretrial reform issues, the public pays attention to law enforcement more than any other justice system partner, so their voice carries considerable weight. As more states and localities begin to discuss and implement justice system changes, these online courses can provide innovative ideas and important background information to help law enforcement be engaged leaders in these conversations.