Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies awarded $3.2 million

October 17, 2007

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State's Institute of Non-Lethal Defense Technologies, administered by the Applied Research Laboratory, has been awarded a one-year cooperative agreement funded at $3.2 million by the U.S. Department of Justice through its National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to create a national Weapons and Protective Systems Technologies Center of Excellence.

The PSU institute will manage the center and focus on the areas of less-lethal munitions and devices, school safety and pursuit management that deals with technologies associated with the pursuit of fleeing suspects or perpetrators. The Center of Excellence will be supervised by Col. Andrew F. Mazzara USMC (Retired), director of the Institute.

The institute is teamed with Penn State Fayette's Center for Community and Public Safety in Western Pennsylvania and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-Rocky Mountain at the Denver Research Institute of the University of Denver under the management of Director Troy Krenning. This award recognizes both the national and international reputation of Penn State within the less-lethal technology and law enforcement arenas and its research excellence in support of NIJ over the past five years.

"The areas of less-lethal, school safety, personal protection and pursuit technologies are all becoming increasingly important to law enforcement in the post-911 environment," stated Mazzara. "The ability of our police to respond effectively in critical incident scenarios is crucial."

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) will support the new center in the areas of explosive event (bomb) remediation, corrections and personal protective equipment. Mazzara added, "NLECTC-Rocky Mountain has unique facilities available through the University of Denver, allowing training, demonstrations and workshops involving live explosives firing, DNA evidence processing and materials science."

Research work and technical support to NIJ are planned to begin this fall. In addition to the Applied Research Lab and the Fayette campus of Penn State, various other academic departments, faculty and staff will likely be involved.

Penn State established the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies in 1998 as part of its overall mission of teaching, research and public service. The institute is dedicated to providing a base of multidisciplinary knowledge and technology that supports development and responsible application of non-lethal options for both military and civilian law enforcement. The Institute is administered by Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), under the direction and support of the University's Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

Participating in the institute's projects are faculty and students from Penn State's Colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, Agriculture Sciences and Health and Human Development, as well as the Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Fayette's Center for Community and Public Safety.

The Center for Community and Public Safety on Penn State's Fayette campus provides education and training for law enforcement, emergency preparedness and other homeland security activities for government and industry professionals.

Mazzara noted, "This hopefully is the beginning of a long-term relationship between our universities and the NIJ and is a testament to the superb reputation we have built over the last several years within the national and international law enforcement communities. The NLECTC-Rocky Mountain at the University of Denver has demonstrated in the past strong, relevant expertise in areas that complement what Penn State does very well."

Last Updated March 31, 2010