NIJ's Office of Science and Technology


Criminal justice practitioners, such as law enforcement and corrections officers, increasingly rely on technology to do their jobs.Through its Office of Science and Technology, NIJ (1) serves as the national focal point for work on criminal justice technology and (2) carries out programs that, by providing equipment, training and technical assistance, improve the safety and effectiveness of criminal justice technology as well as access to that technology by local, state, tribal and federal enforcement agencies.The Office of Science and Technology’s principal tasks in supporting this mission include:

  • Establishing and maintaining advisory groups to assess the technology needs of state, local, tribal and federal criminal justice agencies.
  • Establishing and maintaining performance standards for criminal justice technologies.
  • Establishing and conducting a compliance testing program that supports those standards.
  • Carrying out a research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) program to improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of criminal justice technology.
  • Providing technical assistance to criminal justice practitioners.
  • Serving as a clearinghouse for information on criminal justice technologies.

Technology Center System

The Office of Science and Technology also operates the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) system Exit Notice. Created in 1994, the NLECTC system plays a vital role in enabling the Office of Science and Technology to carry out its mission. The NLECTC system’s centers and offices provide:

  • Scientific and technical support to NIJ’s RDT&E projects, particularly the identification of criminal justice technology needs.
  • Support for the transfer and adoption of technology into practice by law enforcement and corrections agencies, courts and crime laboratories.
  • Assistance in developing and disseminating technology guidelines and standards.
  • Technology assistance, information and support to law enforcement and corrections agencies, courts and crime laboratories.

The office of science and Technology manages the NLECTC system as a whole and the individual centers within it, except for the Forensic sciences Technology center of excellence, which is managed by the office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences.

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Date Reviewed: April 4, 2011