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Developing Local Police and Federal Law Enforcement Partnerships: G.R.E.A.T. as a Case Study of Policy Implementation

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 24 Issue: 2 Dated: Autumn 1999 Pages: 145-168
L. Thomas Winfree Jr.; Dana Peterson Lynskey; James R. Maupin
Date Published
This study of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program focuses on its evolution from a conceptual idea to its policy implementation and considers the extent to which the findings add to understanding of how criminal justice policy moves from an idea to implementation.
The analysis focused on how and why the idea of such a classroom-based, officer-instructed anti-gang program came into being, who created and developed the G.R.E.A.T. program, and how the creation of the program fits into the larger policy literature concerning collaborative partnerships of this nature. Study information came from structured and unstructured interviews and from documents provided by the Phoenix Police Department. Results revealed that participants agreed that the support of Senator Dennis DeConcini was directly responsible for the creation of the prototype of this anti-gang program in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. The Senator’s committee had fiscal oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He attended a May 1991 meeting at which representatives of area police agencies informally discussed a law enforcement-based anti-gang program. A prototype program started in the Phoenix area. The resulting program was being offered across the country within months. The program resulted from unique interagency machinations; a group of dedicated law enforcement officers created what appears to be a remarkable crime prevention program in an equally remarkable short window of opportunity despite or perhaps because of differing allegiances, jurisdictions, missions, and constituencies. The analysis concluded that lessons learned from this experience are the need to keep an exact record, ensure that any official memorandum of understanding includes all essential elements and the inclusion in the program plan of a mechanism for recognizing all participants appropriately. Footnotes and 28 references