Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Chapter 1: Forming a CJCC

Forming a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) from the ground up can seem like a daunting task as there are many different things to consider. The information outlined in this section of the microsite outlines a step by step process for starting a CJCC. Questions you may ask; such as who initiates action, or by whose authority is action initiated to establish a CJCC? How does a CJCC get started? The answers to these questions vary, depending on the locality and the situation.

NIC finds that some communities, request technical assistance to establish a CJCC, because there is uncertainty or ambiguity about who can legitimately act on issues they face in their criminal justice system. Holding a strategic planning session, with assistance of a skilled facilitator, is a good way to establish the foundation and priorities for a CJCC. Repeating these sessions, at least annually, to review the work, celebrate accomplishments, establish new priorities, and reenergize the CJCC can be very beneficial.

Authorization and Purpose

Groups can operate informally, but those with formal authorization and structure tend to be more effective. The first step in setting up a CJCC is to obtain legal authorization for it to serve across agencies and jurisdictions. For example, the CJCC might be established by a joint resolution of local governments, a joint powers agreement, a municipal ordinance, a resolution of the county government, a statute, or an executive order. More examples are found in the Resources under Governance Documents. Whatever form of enabling mechanism is used, its provisions should describe the CJCC’s location within local government and its major purposes, duties, and powers. It should, also, outline the mutual responsibilities of the CJCC and the agencies it serves. This document legitimizes the CJCC staff efforts to obtain line agency cooperation in collecting necessary data and to implement CJCC-sponsored plans and programs. A clearly articulated purpose should be formally adopted and after the CJCC has created its purpose, it can begin mission and vision setting with all the council stakeholders. More details on how to create mission and vision statements can be found in Chapter 2.

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hint

Identify a Champion. Have a local leader in criminal justice serve as a champion for your CJCC efforts. This champion varies from jurisdiction, but it must be someone with vision and leadership skills who can build trust with other stakeholders. Oftentimes the champion is a judge because they are trained to be fair and impartial; however, it could be a district attorney, county manager, sheriff, or chief of police with a passion for this work. Often more partners are willing to spend their time on this collaboration if they know it is supported at a high level.

Helpful Hint

Get a minimum of a one-year commitment from key stakeholders for thier participation when establishing a CJCC. Additionally, it can be helpful to decide upon 2-3 goals to launch the work of the CJCC.