Law Enforcement Assistance Administration

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Policing

The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was a U.S. federal agency that operated between 1968 and 1982 created to provide financial and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

The LEAA was established as part of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which was enacted in response to concerns about rising crime rates and the need for better law enforcement resources. The agency was responsible for funding a wide range of criminal justice initiatives, including the development of new technologies and techniques for crime prevention and investigation, the expansion of community policing programs, and the provision of training for law enforcement officers.

Some of the key initiatives that the LEAA funded include the creation of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is a database used by law enforcement agencies to share information about criminal activity and wanted individuals, and the establishment of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which is a research and development agency focused on improving the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

Despite its successes, the LEAA was criticized for some of its policies and practices, particularly in the area of community policing. Some critics argued that the agency’s focus on militarizing law enforcement agencies and promoting aggressive policing tactics contributed to distrust between law enforcement and the communities they served. The agency was ultimately abolished in 1982 as part of a broader restructuring of the federal government.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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