The Leon County Sherriff's Office (LCSO) recently announced it was awarded a $1,495,633 grant from the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) as part of a national effort to curb violence (Community Intervention and Prevention Initiative).
The grant will enable LCSO to develop and expand the newly launched Council on the Status of Men and Boys. The Council's mission is to "unify existing agencies, organizations, and individuals to coordinate resources, funding, and services under a multi-disciplinary plan for reducing homicides and non-fatal shootings in Leon County."
The project initially began in November 2021. The Sheriff's Office conducted an exploratory review of homicides in Leon County from 2015 to 2020 (Anatomy of a Homicide Project). In the findings, LCSO acknowledged that law enforcement couldn't stop violence alone. Additional research, improved data collection, and analysis were needed to determine and implement evidence-based solutions.
After contacting FSU researchers for assistance, the Leon County Sheriff, Walt McNeil, and the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research formalized a Memorandum of Understanding to establish their partnership in January.
“We are very excited to build on our existing partnership with Florida State University's nationally recognized College of Criminiology and Criminal Justice Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research.”
— Walter McNeil, Leon County Sheriff
Leon County Sheriff, Walter McNeil, said, "we are very excited to build on our existing partnership with Florida State University's nationally recognized College of Criminology and Criminal Justice Center for Criminology and Public Policy Research. Dean Thomas Blomberg and his team will assist the Council with conducting a community violence assessment expanding on the Anatomy of a Homicide and a systematic review of scholarly literature and reports from other jurisdictions to identify and evaluate existing evidence-based violence prevention programs."
FSU's grant support includes two phases over three years. They will serve as embedded researchers during the first year (phase 1). They will analyze patterns and prevalence of violent crime to determine the scope of the problem, identify trends through available research and statistics and evaluate best practices to reduce violent crime in Leon County.
In phase two, researchers will assist LCSO with implementing the selected programs and evaluate their outcomes over the next two years. In addition, researchers will conduct focus groups and one-on-one interviews with involved parties to gain the feedback needed for LCSO to ensure implementation fidelity with evidence-based best practices.
The research will result in a detailed report of the violence problem in Leon County, inform the planning committee, and identify evidence-based violence interventions that reduce violent crime in Leon County.
As summarized by Dean Blomberg, "our partnership with the Leon County Sheriff's Office exemplifies the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice's commitment to bringing research to life to reduce the pain and suffering of crime and criminal victimization."
“Our partnership with the LCSO exemplifies the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice's commitment to bringing research to life to reduce that pain and suffering of crime and criminal victimization.”
— Thomas Blomberg, Dean, FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice