Technology Working Groups

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A Technology Working Group (TWG) is a practitioner-based committee of 25 to 30 experienced practitioners from local, state, tribal, and federal agencies and laboratories associated with a particular NIJ technology investment portfolio, such as Biometrics. Each portfolio has a TWG, which identifies criminal justice technology needs within that portfolio. TWGs are hosted by the relevant Center of Excellence.

TWG members participate in the peer-review panels that evaluate potential solutions to address practitioner needs.  Agencies from which TWG members are drawn are routinely involved in testing and evaluating the resulting solutions.  The TWGs, and through them the criminal justice practitioner community, are embedded in the NIJ RDT&E process from beginning to end.

A variant of the TWG is the Special Technical Committee, which are used to develop NIJ Standards. 

Current Technology Working Groups

  • Aviation
  • Biometrics
  • Body Armor
  • Communications
  • Community Corrections
  • DNA Forensics
  • Electronic Crime
  • Explosive Device Defeat
  • General Forensics
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Information-Led Policing
  • Institutional Corrections
  • Less-Lethal Technologies
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Officer Safety and Protective Technologies
  • Personal Protection Equipment
  • Pursuit Management
  • School Safety
  • Sensors and Surveillance
  • Weapons Detection

Who Sponsors NIJ's Technology Working Groups?

Each working group is sponsored by one of the following National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) system's Centers of Excellence, with a technologist serving as the group's technology coordinator:

  • Communications Technologies Center of Excellence.
  • Corrections Technology Center of Excellence.
  • Forensic Science Technology Center of Excellence.
  • Weapons and Protective Systems Technologies Center of Excellence.
  • Sensors, Surveillance, and Biometric Technologies Center of Excellence.

How Do Technology Working Groups Meet the Needs of Practitioners?

In cooperation with NLECTC, Technology Working Groups develop operational requirements [1] and technology evaluation criteria. They then determine whether a technology is available in the marketplace or from the scientific community. As priorities change within the field, technology portfolios and working groups also change as practitioners implement new solutions or as new technologies emerge.

Technology Working Groups and the Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council (LECTAC) work together to ensure that NIJ's technology program meets high standards for safety and performance. They identify and define technology needs and operational requirements in the field. LECTAC and the Technology Working Groups relay information about NIJ's technology programs and products back to the criminal justice community. They also:

  • Provide peer reviews of concept papers and proposals. 
  • Review the ongoing status of research and development projects. 
  • Evaluate the success of programs and projects. 
  • Work with agencies to demonstrate and test newly developed technologies.


[note 1] An operational requirement describes the tool or system, how it will be used, and the basic characteristics it must have to be effective.

Date Modified: July 13, 2012