National Institute of Justice Advances Cost-Effective Aviation Technology for Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. — The Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced that it has awarded a grant of more than $900,000 to Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) to identify and assess cost-effective aviation technology for law enforcement in remote areas in cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service. This award is part of an agreement between NIJ and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism.

The evidence-based research produced by this award will benefit U.S. state and local law enforcement – particularly those in rural and tribal jurisdictions – who are considering the use of low-cost aircraft to support their missions. This project will also strengthen law enforcement capacity to fight terrorism, secure borders, and combat wildlife trafficking in East Africa. The project therefore addresses elements of both the U.S. National Strategy for Counterterrorism as well as the Presidential Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, which calls for enhanced domestic efforts to fight illegal trafficking of wildlife and increased assistance to foreign nations in building capacity to combat wildlife trafficking. It also furthers NIJ’s mission to adopt a global perspective on criminal justice research, especially for crimes that cross national borders.

“This important project will add to the existing knowledge on how aviation technologies are used for surveillance and help us develop evidence-based practices which will be made available to U.S. state and local law enforcement, for use in rural or tribal law enforcement operations and in counter-poaching,” — Nancy Rodriguez, Director of the National Institute of Justice.

The NIJ Director made the award announcement while taking part in a panel discussion hosted by the United States Department of Energy and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. ECSU is a historically black university located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina System.

ECSU’s project team brings expertise from aviation, engineering, technology, social science, sciences, business and law enforcement as well as a proven track record of sustained engagement with partner institutions in Africa. ECSU will take a mixed-methods research design approach to produce recommendations that will have the potential to inform best-practices in the deployment of cost-effective aerial technologies in support of law enforcement operations in remote areas. Watch this video to learn more about the U.S. partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service: More information on the award and other NIJ programs is available at:

About the Office of Justice Programs
OJP, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. To learn more about OJP, visit

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