At the core of the NLECTC System is the notion of "translational technology," simply put, we link research with practice. It works in other fields, such as medicine. It also works in criminal justice. As a program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the NLECTC System is the conduit between researchers and criminal justice professionals in the field for technology issues. NLECTC works with criminal justice professionals to identify urgent and emerging technology needs. NIJ sponsors research and development or identifies best practices to address those needs. NLECTC centers demonstrate new technologies, test commercially available technologies and publish results — linking research with practice. Originally created in 1994 as a program of NIJ's Office of Science and Technology, the NLECTC System plays a crucial role in enabling NIJ to carry out its critical mission to assist state, local, tribal and federal law enforcement, corrections and other criminal justice agencies in addressing their technology needs and challenges.
The NLECTC System includes the following centers: