Our Projects

CNA Corporation conducts a number of projects in the field of criminal justice for local, state, and federal departments and agencies nationwide.


BJA Smart Policing Initiative

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) is a national, evidence‐based law enforcement effort to identify and implement law enforcement tactics and strategies that are effective, efficient, and economical. BJA has identified thirty-two law enforcement agencies and their research partners to participate in the SPI. BJA has selected CNA Corporation to provide training and technical assistance to the Smart Policing community. Vivian Elliott is the project manager and James "Chip" R. Coldren, Jr. is the project director. Please visit the initiative’s website at www.smartpolicinginitiative.com or contact us for more information.

Podcast on the Principles of Smart Policing - presented by James R. Coldren

COPS Peer Review

This project is a cooperative agreement between CNA Corporation and the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). CNA Corporation’s goal on this project is to ensure that the knowledge resource development work funded by the COPS Office is conveyed in an easily understandable and effective manner, and reaches the intended audience with in a clear and useful format. To date CNA Corporation has developed Peer Review Guidelines, Peer Review Process, and updated the Peer Review Questionnaire. CNA Corporation manages 3 to 5 peer reviews per month; examples of publications reviewed include POP Guides and Issue Briefs.   


COPS Critical Incident Analysis

CNA Corporation conducts analysis in response to critical incidents for law enforcement agencies nationwide in a variety of areas, including use of force, community engagement, policies, and more. Reports on previous analysis for the Oakland Police Department, Tampa Bay Police Department, Baltimore Police Department, and Las Vegas Police Department can be read in the SMART Justice Center library.

Podcast on the Tampa Bay Manhunt After Action Report - presented by Chips Stewart and Denise Rodriguez-King

2012 Democratic and Republican National Convention Support

The 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions posed unique planning, operations, and coordination challenges to local (host) police departments in Tampa, FL and Charlotte, NC. At the request of BJA, CNA Corporation documented local law enforcement planning and implementation of security operations during the 2012 conventions by developing a comprehensive After-Action Report that reconstructed local law enforcement planning, actions taken, and outcomes; as well as by identifying and discussing lessons learned and best practices for other police departments engaged in similar support activities. In addition, upon request, CNA Corporation provided technical assistance to each host site for law enforcement convention support activities.  


BJA Law Enforcement Organization of Planning and Research Directors

The Law Enforcement Organization of Planning & Research Directors (LEOPRD) seeks to provide law enforcement agency leaders, planning and research directors and key stakeholders with venues in which they may share and discuss their unique planning and research issues, methodologies and best practices at the national and international levels. BJA has selected CNA Corporation to provide training and technical assistance to improve the capacity for law enforcement agencies to use evidence-based practices to save resources and improve performance.  


COPS Research of Police Ambushes

CNA Corporation has been awarded a grant (Cooperative Agreement # 2012-CK-WX-K036) to conduct research on ambushes of police as part of a new initiative by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS Office”).

In recent years, ambush attacks have been on the rise nationally, yet little is known about the characteristics of such incidents and what police departments can do to protect their officers. In response, the Attorney General’s Office has noted on the COPS Office website the need to “[develop] approaches to counter ambush-style attacks.” CNA Corporation’s initiative will fill this void with a two-phase, mixed methods study.

Phase I will be driven by research and analysis of ambush incidents, leveraging past research, the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data set, and after-action/incident reports from the field. The purpose of Phase I will be to identify trends in these incidents in order to develop and inform policy and training protocols throughout the law enforcement enterprise.

The research team will then collaborate with law enforcement practitioners in Phase II of the project. CNA Corp. will conduct a series of focus groups and hold panel discussions to identify policy, training, and operational practices that can protect police officers against ambush attacks. CNA Corp. will be partnering with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to engage a broad law enforcement audience.

In the following weeks, the research team will be soliciting after-action/incident reports of ambush attacks of law enforcement across the country. If your agency has incident reports that can be shared with the CNA Corporation research team for this important endeavor, please contact principal investigator George Fachner by email (fachnerg@cna.org) or phone (703.998.4893).


NIJ Corrections Technology Project

CNA Corporation is investigating the impact of safety equipment modalities in correctional facilities on officer safety outcomes, with support from a grant from the National Institute of Justice. This study will address questions raised in a GAO report to Congress titled “Evaluating the Impact of Protective Equipment Could Help Enhance Officer Safety.” The main research goals are to understand the types of safety equipment in use in state and federal adult correctional facilities; to understand the decision-making process used by correctional facility leadership when deploying safety equipment; and to understand the link between different types and uses of safety equipment and correctional officer assaults, injuries, and other safety outcomes. This study incorporates a phased, mixed-methods approach. In the first phase, we will deploy a survey to correctional facilities to collect information about safety equipment use and officer safety outcomes. In the second phase, we will interview correctional facility leadership about the decision-making process related to choosing and deploying safety equipment. Also during the second phase, we will collect and analyze training and policy documents related to safety equipment, and analyze them to identify common policy attributes associated with the use of the safety equipment and training requirements. The results from these three activities will be presented in a final report and standalone executive summary.


Arming University Police

The purpose of this study was to provide university officials with recent trends, best practices, and recommendations on arming university police officers.

CNA Corporation’s review of recent trends on this topic showed that an increasing number of universities have armed their sworn officers in the past nine years. Most significantly, many of these universities armed their sworn officers after each of the following mass shooting incidents: 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, 2008 Illinois University shooting, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.  

In addition to identifying the recent trends and the impacts of mass shootings on the number of universities that have armed their officers, CNA Corp. also developed guidance on the process universities should follow as they consider arming their officers. This process encompasses six steps: Assess, Decide, Plan and Prepare, Train, Implement, and Evaluate. In addition to identifying this process, CNA Corp. also developed recommendations for each step. Recommendations included conducting a threat/risk assessment, considering alternatives to arming officers, and meeting with neighboring law enforcement agencies about the decision to arm.

The results of the study will be published as a two part series in Campus Safety Magazine. The first article, "Arming University Police Department, Part 1: The Impact of Mass Shootings" was published in the December 2013 issue. Part two of the series, "Arming University Police Departments, Part 2: Best Practices and Lessons Learned" will be published in early 2014. Once published these articles can be found on Campus Safety’s website: www.campussafetymagazine.com.


Collaborative Reform Through Technical Assistance: Spokane Police Department

This project is an expansion to the collaborative reform project funded by the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The goal of the reform project in Spokane is to improve departmental use of force processes in the Spokane Police Department (SPD) taking into account national standards, best practices, existing research and community expectations. Specific objectives include: Examining departmental use of force policies and procedures; Analyzing a sample of use of force investigation files from 2009–2013; Examining the role of the ombudsman in use of force investigations; Improving SPD organizational culture as it relates to use of force to build trust with the community. The report documenting recommended reforms is expected to be released the summer of 2014 after which CNA Corp. will monitor SPD’s implementation of the reforms.


The Impact of Police Technologies: Body Worn Cameras in the Las Vegas Police Department (LVMPD)

This study is funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). This quasi-experimental study will seek to determine if the implementation of body worn cameras on LVMPD officers affects police behavior and operational costs. Little experimental research has been done on this class of technology and this study will make an important contribution to the understanding of the role of technology in justice system reform and improvement. Implementation of the cameras is expected to begin in March of 2014 and continue through March of 2015 after which the team will analyze the data and provide their findings in a report to NIJ.


Navy Yard Mass Shooting After Action Review

The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice directed the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) to coordinate an after-action review of the District’s response to the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, 2013. The purpose of this review is to strengthen the District of Columbia Government’s preparedness for future incidents that require a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional response through a collaborative after-action review process that engages all stakeholders and response partners.