​NIJ and IACP’s Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science (LEADS) Scholarships for Law Enforcement Officers

Attend the IACP Conference, NIJ research seminars, and IACP networking events, and join a growing community of practice

The application period for 2017 has closed. Thank you to everyone who applied. 

Hear from the Scholars

On this page find:

Overview of the Program

NIJ and IACP's LEADS scholarship program helps law enforcement officers integrate research into their day-to-day work, and provides NIJ with direct insight from forward-leaning practitioners who value research and the role it plays in practice. Research is a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies—not only for the police chiefs who make policy decisions, but also for the mid-rank officers who carry out and measure those decisions. Through this program, NIJ and IACP hope to identify and develop the next generation of law enforcement leadership, and encourage the use of evidence-based practice to advance criminal justice throughout the nation.

In 2017, NIJ is will grant ten new merit-based scholarships to mid-rank law enforcement officers to join a diverse, growing group of practitioners dedicated to advancing policing throughout the nation. As part of this program, LEADS scholars will have the opportunity to attend various special events held within the D.C. Metropolitan area; participate in numerous networking and collaborative activities with NIJ leadership and leading researchers within the field of criminal justice; and attend the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference and Expo held in Philadelphia, PA October 21-24, 2017.

Historically, NIJ expects a three-year commitment from LEADS scholarship recipients. During these three years, scholars are expected to be active participants in all applicable activities under the program. These activities have historically included annual attendance at the IACP Conference and Expo; annual attendance at a day-long workshop held at both NIJ and IACP headquarters; and various independent activities throughout the year such as site visits, conference presentations and publishing within both NIJ publications and practitioner-focused journals. All travel, accommodation, and per diem costs associated with participating in the LEADS Scholars program will be covered by NIJ.

At the end of their time as a scholar (i.e., after three years, depending on future funding availability), graduating scholars will be expected to produce a five-page critical thought piece to the NIJ Director chronicling their lessons-learned regarding researcher-practitioner partnerships and the value of science in law enforcement.

Learn more about the LEADS program here​.​

Participation at the IACP Conference an​d Expo

NIJ and the IACP Research Advisory Committee (RAC) have designed a robust and rewarding educational program for LEADS scholars at the upcoming IACP Conference. In addition to full access to all conference workshops and exhibit halls, scholarships include:

  • A special orientation dinner with incoming and current scholars; NIJ; and IACP personnel.
  • Attendance at the NIJ Saturday Session "What Works and What Matters in Policing."
  • Participation in the IACP RAC meeting.
  • Attendance at the IACP Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Awards banquet.
  • Participation in a private roundtable event with IACP leadership to discuss priorities in policing research.
  • Participation in a private events with NIJ Acting Director Howard Spivak and other executive staff.

To learn more about the conference, visit the IACP’s Conference Web page​.

Additional Activities

LEADS scholars serve as a growing community of police practitioners committed to using research to strengthen the law enforcement practice within their jurisdictions. To that end, NIJ and IACP sponsor a variety of activities throughout the year to help foster a collaborative environment and encourage professional growth. These activities include:

  • Collaborative brainstorming activities between LEADS scholars, NIJ scientific staff, and IACP executives.
  • Attendance at NIJ-sponsored events focusing on law enforcement.
  • Participation in NIJ peer review.
  • Opportunities to present research and findings at law enforcement conferences, and be published in practitioner-focused journals.
  • Participation in site visits to see ongoing research being undertaken at law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.


This scholarship program is for sworn, mid-level career police professionals who have demonstrated experience partnering with researchers to implement science-based initiatives, or who have infused research into policing policy and practice. Applicants should be officers who are in a position to affect policy and practice within their agencies. Applicants must:

  • Not currently be an NIJ grantee.
  • Be a sworn law enforcement officer working for a United States law enforcement agency.
  • Hold a position that is considered "mid-rank" within their respective agency.

Application Process

Deadline: June 30, 2017

Submit the following to Eboni Scurlock at Eboni.Scurlock@ojp.usdoj.gov.

  • Current resume.
  • A two-page (in 12-point font with 1-inch margins) essay explaining how participation in this program will benefit you and your agency, your research interests and how you might integrate research into your agency. Specifically, the essay should include:
    • A brief description of your current roles and responsibilities in your agency.
    • A description of your previous experience partnering with researchers to use scientific methods and findings to inform decisions about policing policy or practice, and/or your previous experience using research to inform policy and practice in your agency.
    • Specific description of how your participation at the IACP Conference and Expo will benefit your agency, including how lessons-learned and information gathered will be shared, and specific areas of research that are priorities for you or your agency.
  • A letter from your supervisor — on agency letterhead — approving your attendance at the Conference and participation in the LEADS program for up-to three years. 

Please direct all questions to the email address above.

Date Created: June 13, 2017​​