Strategic Planning And Facilitation

The adage “if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there” is at the heart of ILJ’s expert facilitation to guide groups of all sizes through the rewarding and challenging process of strategic planning. ILJ’s skilled facilitators have worked with clients in federal, state, and local government, in community based organizations, and in many law enforcement agencies to create strategic plans that help organizations and communities grow and change, responding to current conditions and realizing their goals and aspirations.

Past Projects

Performance Measures for Congressionally Mandated Programs

ILJ helped the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice, meet congressionally mandated requirements to ensure that funds for discretionary grant programs were spent efficiently and effectively. ILJ reviewed approximately 80 congressionally earmarked projects managed by BJA and developed program logic models for these projects and performance measures in support of the models. The results allowed BJA grant monitors to conduct more systematic assessments of grantees’ progress and accomplishments.

Picket Institute: Building Capacity for Community-Based Strategic Planning

In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office of Justice Programs’ Statewide Community Initiative, ILJ created the Pickett Institute to encourage and enable criminal justice practitioners to use research in their planning efforts and directly apply this research to work in the field and impact local and State strategies.

West Virginia State Police

ILJ carried out, in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), a comprehensive management, staff resources, and training study for the West Virginia State Police (WVSP), providing results to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance of the West Virginia State Legislature. The WVSP is the primary public safety agency for all main highways and for the substantial rural areas of this state.

ILJ analyzed dispatched calls for service, self-initiated traffic stops, reported crime, miles driven, traffic accidents, and other data to assist WVSP in developing updated staffing standards and projecting future staffing needs. Recommendations were focusing on effective allocation of limited resources over time and geographic regions, best use of sworn versus civilian staff, consolidation of interagency enforcement tasks (such as for state DOT), and improved technology-assisted police training.

Tucson, Arizona, Policing Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan

ILJ helped the City of Tucson and the Tucson Police Department (1) gain a more precise understanding of the needs and expectations of both citizens and department members, and (2) develop a strategic plan that meets those needs and expectations. The work included

  • Community ascertainment to more clearly define citizens' needs and expectations for police and other municipal services, using focus groups and other techniques designed to include a broad, representative cross-section of the community;
  • Survey of police department members to measure internal needs and correlate those needs to those of the community;
  • Documentation of the results of these efforts in a comprehensive report; and
  • Work with the police department to create a five year strategic plan covering all aspects of its operation and future growth.

Greater Greenspoint Management District (Houston, Texas) Law Enforcement and Security Study

The Greater Greenspoint Management District (GGMD), a special taxation district in Houston, Texas, contracted with ILJ to assess the district’s public safety and security services. The primary aims of the study were to (1) determine whether current public safety operations, including contracted services, were adequate, (2) conduct a district-wide public safety and physical security audit, (3) identify the concerns and expectations of the district’s stakeholders and customers, (4) survey similar districts nationally, and (5) develop a strategic public safety plan for the district.

Since its founding in 1991, GGMD had built collaborative relationships with the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. ILJ’s comprehensive final report to the GGMD included recommendations for strengthening those relationships; establishing a new crime control and prevention unit; improving communications; promoting the District’s use of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED); heightening security; refining the staffing levels and responsibilities of contract deputies; boosting community policing efforts; and marketing the GGMD’s public safety and quality of life improvements.

Springfield, Missouri Organizational Values Project

The Institute for Law and Justice assisted the Springfield, Missouri, Police Department implement its Organizational Values Project. The work included reviewing all aspects of department operations and management; conducting department-wide and community focus groups; assisting in development of a mission statement and organizational values; participating in and providing information to a Steering Committee; conducting a critical analysis of training curricula to ensure it reflects the revised mission statement and core values; and exposing SPD training staff to various adult learning techniques.

Nashville, Tennessee, Police Organizational Change Project

ILJ assisted the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department in the formation of a Total Quality Management work group of mid-management level personnel, both sworn and civilian, to identify and address critical problems within the department. With ILJ facilitating meetings and assisting in the identification of issues, the work group addressed several major organizational issues cutting across the existing bureau structure. The chief of police, with the consent of the mayor and council, implemented a basic restructuring of the department proposed to him by the work group. The reorganization eliminated one of the department's five bureaus and two ranks from its rank structure. The work group also dealt with other major issues facing the organization, such as developing a new career plan, staffing and efficiency of all units, accreditation, and new policies.

City of Temple, Texas, Organizational Development and Community Policing Technical Assistance

ILJ provided technical assistance to the City of Temple, Texas, to reengineer the agency's services. ILJ assessed the organization's needs and developed an approach for training all police department personnel in necessary skills for strategic planning and community policing, such as:

  • Community organization
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Customer service.

On a continuing basis, ILJ assisted police middle management in Temple in strategic planning, values and goals statements, performance analysis, policies and procedures, and managing change. Temple’s Community Oriented Policing System (COPS) was adopted on a citywide basis.

Evaluation of Statewide Planning and Research Units

For the State of Illinois, ILJ evaluated the development and implementation of planning and research units in Illinois police departments. Over 12 police department units were evaluated for their effectiveness in planning, crime analysis, and staff assistance to the chief.

Assessment of Alternative Sanctions for Drug Offenses

For the National Institute of Justice, ILJ conducted a research project on the relative merits of four drug arrest dispositions that serve as alternatives to incarceration for minor drug offenses: (1) suspension and postponement of driving privileges; (2) asset forfeiture; (3) local ordinances for minor drug offenses; and (4) land use controls, including nuisance abatement and zoning laws. The research design included a thorough assessment of the procedural and legal issues surrounding the alternatives; an assessment of their impact on the criminal justice system, especially prosecutors and judges; and an evaluation of their general and specific deterrence values.

National Criminal Justice Needs Assessment Project

ILJ administered the National Assessment Program (NAP) for the National Institute of Justice. The NAP was a comprehensive effort to determine the key needs and problems of criminal justice agencies nationwide. ILJ distributed over 3,000 detailed questionnaires to heads of law enforcement, prosecution, courts, corrections, and victim services agencies in 350 jurisdictions. ILJ examined innovative criminal justice programs that addressed the needs identified in the survey. Several reports on survey findings were published as Research in Action products.

ILJ also conducted "quick studies" for the staff of NIJ. The duration of these projects lasted from one month to one year and included a survey and manual on police employee drug testing, a survey of law enforcement's use of microcomputers, an evaluation of police efforts in public housing, and a study of dedicated computer crime units.

Evaluation of Privacy and Security Regulations Cost Model

For the Institute for Law and Social Research (INSLAW), ILJ evaluated a cost model for implementing criminal justice records privacy and security regulations promulgated by the U. S. Department of Justice. The evaluation included a literature review, site interviews in three jurisdictions, and a pilot test of the cost model. The final report included assessments and recommendations for improvement.

Evaluation of LEAA-funded Programs

This three-year project for the Virginia Division of Justice and Crime Prevention involved evaluation of over 200 grant projects, representing over $12 million in funding by the LEAA, managed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The methodology required collecting and analyzing data, conducting personal interviews, observing work sites, and preparing evaluation reports for each project. Reports stressed improvements in management, and efficiency and effectiveness of operations. Projects were administered by police, prosecution, courts, corrections, and juvenile justice agencies.

Evaluation of "Promising Projects" for the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration

Through this contract, ILJ assessed meritorious projects that had qualities transferable to other agencies. This project involved (1) developing methodology for conducting a nationwide evaluation of "Promising Projects;" (2) documenting the methodology in a handbook for future self-evaluation by agencies; and (3) evaluating over 2,000 Law Enforcement Assistance Administration projects nationwide by analyzing self-report data, questionnaires, and follow-up telephone surveys.

Sample Publications and Products

  • Guidelines for Starting and Operating a New Police Department
  • Pickett Institute Curriculum: Building Capacity for Community-Based Strategic Planning—contact Ed Connors at for more information

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