The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides leadership and assistance to local criminal justice programs that improve and reinforce the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA’s goals are to reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse and to improve the way in which the criminal justice system functions. In order to achieve such goals, BJA programs illustrate the coordination and cooperation of local, state, and federal governments. BJA works closely with programs that bolster law enforcement operations, expand drug courts, and provide benefits to safety officers.
Visit the BJA website to learn more about BJA.
BJA Key Areas
BJA consists of four key areas: Policy, Programs, Operations, and the National Officer Safety and Wellness Office.
- The Policy Office acts as a national leader for criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to advance the direction of justice. It also acts as a connecting point with national organizations to set policy and help broadcast information on the best practices.
- The Programs Office organizes and manages all state and local grant programs. It functions as a direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments because the office is responsible for providing assistance and coordinating resources.
- The Operations Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget functions; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining efforts.
Mike currently serves as the Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Justice Programs. He comes to the Justice Department from the Heritage Foundation, where he served as Senior Advisor for Strategic Outreach and as a member of the Presidential Appointments Team on the Presidential Transition Team.
This is Mike’s third term as an appointee of the Department of Justice. Immediately after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he came east to work in the Reagan Administration for Attorney General Ed Meese as a speechwriter and press aide.
In 2004, Mike joined the Bush Administration as Director of the Police Corps, and later as Chief of Staff at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), where he focused on the Attorney General’s gang reduction efforts. He left OJP in 2006 to become Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Mike has worked extensively on public safety issues throughout his career. He was appointed by Virginia Governor George Allen, and later by Governor Jim Gilmore to run Virginia Exile, the Administration’s statewide gun violence reduction effort.
He used the success of his program as a model for a national program for then Presidential candidate George W. Bush. It became known as Project Safe Neighborhoods and was adopted by President Bush as his signature crime reduction program and implemented by Attorney General John Ashcroft. More recently, President Trump and Attorneys General Sessions and Barr re-committed to PSN as their top gun violence reduction effort.
Mike is a native Californian but has lived with his wife and three boys in Virginia for the last three decades.