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October 14, 2014

Department of Justice Establishes National Criminal Justice Technology Center at Johns Hopkins APL

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) selected two Johns Hopkins University divisions — the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the School of Education, Division of Public Safety Leadership — for a five-year cooperative agreement to establish a new research center.

This new center, which will reside at APL, is designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a wide variety of technologies for the nation’s criminal justice communities.

The National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test and Evaluation (RT&E) Center will provide focused technology-related research, as well as testing and operational evaluations of non-forensic technologies. Both missions are intended to enhance the capabilities of state and local law enforcement, corrections agencies, and courts.

Established in 1968, the NIJ serves as the research, development, and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice; it is roughly comparable to the roles the Army and Naval research laboratories fill for their respective branches of the Department of Defense.

Additional support is provided by the Johns Hopkins Center for Law and the Public’s Health.

“The new center will evaluate the practical outcomes for practitioners of NIJ-funded R&D programs and other technology developments through market surveys, and operational and technical performance assessments,” said APL’s Richard “D.J.” Waddell, director of the center.

“There are 765,000 law enforcement officers serving 18,000 police agencies; 470,000 corrections officers serving 4,000 institutions; and more than 32,000 judges serving federal and state courts in the U.S.,” said Sheldon Greenberg, professor at the School of Education, Division of Public Safety Leadership, and the RT&E Center’s deputy director. “Their reliance on technology has increased exponentially over the past decade. The need for an independent center to advance this technology and take it to practice has become paramount.”

While the activities will vary from year to year based on critical and emerging issues, the center will focus on technology related to communications, biometrics, sensors and surveillance, non-lethal devices, and personal protective equipment.

The RT&E Center will provide in-depth technical reports to the NIJ, and also condense those reports into guidelines and resources designed specifically for personnel serving the law enforcement agencies, departments of corrections, and courts that will implement them. The end-user materials will be made available on the center’s website, which will soon be developed.

“All the center’s projects are designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of technology used by the criminal justice community,” said Mark Gabriele of APL, the center’s project manager.

Media contact: Geoffrey Brown, APL, 240-228-5618,

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit