NNSC’s 2017 National Conference: Race, History, and Policing: A New Vision for Public Safety


The National Network for Safe Communities' 2017 National Conference brought together over 300 important stakeholders to discuss advances in addressing serious violence, building trust and legitimacy, and engaging communities in support of public safety. In a critical moment for the United States' renewed civil rights movement, we wanted to honor a range of voices—police, community activists, service providers, prosecutors, policymakers and others— and not shy away from difficult and painful realities. This event provided a forum for frank conversations, facilitated peer learning and information exchange, and fostered greater mutual understanding. The full agenda and videos of all sessions are available below.

Special thanks to



Day One

Welcome & Introduction

Description: To kick off our third national conference, outgoing President of John Jay College Jeremy Travis offered introductory remarks and a message of confidence.


  • Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • David Kennedy, Director, National Network for Safe Communities


Keynote Remarks

Description: To open NNSC's third national conference, our Director invited two law enforcement executives to share their thoughts and experiences on the overarching themes of the conference: race, history, and policing.


  • Charles Ramsey, Former Chief of Police (Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.); Co-Chair, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Terrence Cunningham, Deputy Executive Director, International Association of Chiefs of Police


Panel Discussion: Police, Community, History, and Truth-telling

Description: This plenary session (titled "Police, Community, History, and Truth-telling") focuses on the need for law enforcement and the communities they serve to acknowledge the past and settle on a shared narrative in order to move forward and make positive change. 


  • Terrence Cunningham, Deputy Executive Director, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • David Kennedy, Director, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Pastor Michael McBride, Director of Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, PICO California
  • Charles Ramsey, Former Chief of Police (Philadelphia,Washington, D.C.); Co-Chair, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • Geoff Ward, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Criminology, Law, & Society, University of California Irvine


Panel Discussion: New Science and Research in Violence

Description: Recent research on the dynamics of community violence has helped to inform interventions and enhance their effectiveness. This panel looks at new findings on: how violence concentrates among certain places and networks of people; what makes interventions effective at preventing violence; and how practitioners can make their efforts more timely and responsive.


  • Michael Friedrich, Senior Research & Policy Associate, National Network for Safe Communities


  • Thomas Abt, Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer, Harvard University (Moderator)
  • Ben Green, Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Mathematics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University (presentation)
  • Danielle Wallace, Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University (presentation)
  • George Wood, Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Internal Medicine & Fellow at the Policy Lab, Yale University (presentation)


Panel Discussion: Effective Violence Prevention: Progress and Practice in Non-US Contexts

Description: There is growing interest in the NNSC’s violence prevention framework in international circles. This panel discusses applications and challenges in contexts as diverse as Sweden, Honduras, Bermuda, El Salvador, and Mexico, while also exploring how government officials and communities are organizing to address those challenges. 


  • H.E. Jeffrey Baron, Minister of National Security, Government of Bermuda
  • Enrique Betancourt, Director of the Citizen Security Initiative, Chemonics International
  • Jeremy Biddle, Coordinator, Central America Regional Security Initiative, United States Agency for International Development
  • Kimberley Jackson, Program Manager, Ministry of Social Development and Sports; and Managing Director, Team Street Safe, Government of Bermuda
  • Rachel Locke, Director, International Interventions, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Kurt Ver Beek, Vice President, Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa (Association for a More Just Society), Honduras
  • Erik Wennerström, Director-General, Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention


Panel Discussion: Innovations in Support and Outreach

Description: Traditional social service frameworks are often ineffective with those who are at high risk for violent victimization and offending. As this panel illustrates, a new support and outreach approach, organized around truly meeting the high-risk “where they are”, is showing considerable promise.


  • Keith Bennett, Program Director, Flip the Script, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit
  • Deanna Hoskins, Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections and Reentry, Bureau of Justice Assistance, United States Department of Justice
  • Isaac Hunt, Group Violence Intervention, Community Outreach Advocate, Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
  • Peter Kim, Manager, Oakland Unite, City of Oakland Human Services Department
  • Paul Smith, Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)


Panel Discussion: The Power of Legitimacy in Public Safety

Description: This panel explores the power of legitimacy across public safety contexts: the nuances of community perceptions of law and enforcement; how negative experiences with police can lead young men to gun carrying; how police organizations’ own legitimacy matters to the rank-and-file; and how cities can emb strategies that maximize legitimacy and rule of law.


  • Stephen Lurie, Research & Policy Associate, National Network for Safe Communities


  • Michael Sierra-Arévalo, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, and Affiliate Fellow, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University
  • Nancy La Vigne, Director, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute (Moderator) (presentation 1 | 2
  • Wesley G. Skogan, Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University (presentation
  • David Thacher, Associate Professor, Public Policy and Urban Planning, University of Michigan


Panel Discussion: Reimagining the Role of the Prosecutor in the Community

Description: The Institute for Innovation in Prosecution hosts a facilitated dialogue on the need for prosecutorial reform, the efforts already progressing across the country, and the ways in which prosecutors can provide leadership in the criminal justice reform effort—all of which can help achieve public safety while also addressing racial disparity in outcomes, improving legitimacy and accountability, and reducing mass incarceration. 


  • District Attorney Darcel Clark, Bronx County, New York
  • Cristine DeBerry, Chief of Staff, San Francisco District Attorney Office
  • Mike Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
  • Ronald Simpson-Bey, Alumni Associate, JustLeadership USA
  • Carter Stewart, Managing Director, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  • Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Moderator)


Panel Discussion: Sustaining Success: New Thinking on Management and Accountability

Description: Sustainability is central to effective violence prevention. Drawing from on-the-ground experience, panelists discuss how specific tools, structures, and processes can be used to promote focus, follow-through, and accountability.


  • Louisa Aviles, Associate Director, Group Violence Intervention, National Network of Safe Communities
  • Vaughn Crandall, Policy Director, California Partnership for Safe Communities (presentation)
  • Trisha Stein, Director of Administrative Operations, Detroit Police Department (presentation)
  • Christopher Mallette, Executive Director, Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, National Network of Safe Communities (Moderator)


Day 2

Welcome & "A Prayer for Our Sons"

Description: Following an introduction by Daryl Atkinson, Co-Director of Forward Justice, poet and storyteller Mama Nia Wilson shares a spoken word piece about her experience as a black mother, which has been "equal parts joy and the greatest fear of my life."


Daryl Atkinson, Civil and Human Rights Attorney; Co-Director, Forward Justice, Durham, North Carolina


Nia Wilson, Executive Director, SpiritHouse Cultural Arts and
Community Organization, Durham, North Carolina


Panel Discussion: Community Voices: Speaking, Hearing, Responding

Description: This discussion explores the roles that community members—including faith leaders, survivors of crime, returning citizens, and people involved in the criminal justice system—can and should play in the movement for reform.

  • Lenore Anderson, Founder and President, Alliance for Safety and Justice
  • Daryl Atkinson, Civil and Human Rights Attorney and Co-Director, Forward Justice, Durham, North Carolina (Moderator)
  • State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County, Illinois
  • Bishop Daryl Harris, Faith-Coordinator, Ceasefire Detroit
  • Fatimah Muhammad, Director, Trauma Advocacy Initiative, Equal Justice USA
  • Deputy Chief Phil Tingirides, Los Angeles Police Department


Panel Discussion: Reading the Streets: Shooting Reviews

Description: New techniques are producing more timely, detailed, and useful insight into violence dynamics. The panel describes how these advances are informing law enforcement and community violence interventions; improving information sharing across agencies and with community partners; supporting the institutionalization of new practices; and increasing accountability.


  • Louisa Aviles, Associate Director, Group Violence Intervention, National Network of Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Reygan Harmon, Ceasefire Program Director, City of Oakland (presentation)
  • Sergeant Karl Jacobson, New Haven Police Department
  • Captain Ersie Joyner, Oakland Police Department
  • Special Agent Mike Zeppieri, Resident Agent in Charge, New Haven Field Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Panel Discussion: Police-Community Reconciliation: Framework and Practice

Description: For many, the sight of a police uniform evokes a feeling of safety and protection; for others, it triggers anxiety or mistrust. To change this dynamic, police agencies nationwide are striving to rebuild confidence with the communities that trust law enforcement the least. This panel highlights NNSC’s reconciliation framework that is being used by police and community members as part of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice, while also demonstrating that an honest acknowledgment of past harms does not undermine the difficult work police officers undertake, as they protect and serve.


  • Felicia Estrada, Program Coordinator, Family and Childhood Wellness, El Concilio
  • David Kennedy, Director, National Network for Safe Communities
  • Sherry Lewis, Chairwoman and President, Birmingham Water Works
  • Chief A.C. Roper, Birmingham Police Department
  • Charles Tucker, Partner and Co-Founder, Sustainable Equity, LLC (Moderator)


Panel Discussion: Victim Safety and Offender Accountability: The Intimate Partner Violence Intervention

Description: The Intimate Partner Violence Intervention (IPVI) aims to improve the safety of the most vulnerable victims of intimate partner violence (IPV); remove the burden of preventing IPV from victims; intervene early in the repeat victimization process; make it clear even to low-level offenders that IPV will not be tolerated; and take special action to deter and, if necessary, incapacitate the most dangerous offenders. The panel focuses on how IPVI is informed by and observes both historical perspectives and current best practices of victim advocacy; empowers victims; and builds effective relationships between law enforcement, victim advocates, and social service providers.


  • Shay Harger, Director of Victim Services Division, Family Service of the Piedmont 
  • Deputy Commissioner Susan Herman, Collaborative Policing, New York City Police Department
  • Rachel Teicher, Director, Intimate Partner Violence Intervention, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Sandy Tibbetts Murphy, Legal and Policy Advisor, Battered Women’s Justice Project


Panel Discussion: New Methods of Community Engagement in Public Safety

Description: Communities already do most of the work of violence prevention themselves. Community norms, community standards, community processes, and what academics call “informal social control” and “collective efficacy” are in the forefront of producing public safety, with “formal social control”—the police and the
law—playing a backup role. Both communities and the police want public safety to be as vested in the community as possible. This panel explores new directions for powerful, near-term violence prevention grounded in community and community capacities.


  • Claudia Gross-Shader, Assistant City Auditor and Research Liaison, City of Seattle, Office of City Auditor (presentation)
  • Chris Mallette, Executive Director, Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, National Network for Safe Communities
  • Ruth Rollins, Former Program Director, Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing (presentation)
  • Paul Smith, Field Advisor, Group Violence Intervention, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Bree Spencer, Director of Evaluation and Technical Assistance, Safe & Sound, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (presentation)
  • Nia Wilson, Executive Director, SpiritHouse Cultural Arts and Community Organization, Durham, North Carolina


Panel Discussion: Reducing Harm: Shifting Police Culture and Practice

Description: Police departments across the country are taking steps to transform their organizational cultures and institutionalize new practices in order to build trust, demonstrate transparency, and reduce the harm of traditional policing practices in the communities they serve. These agencies are instituting new training programs, implementing changes in policy and organizational structure, and adjusting operational and tactical approaches to serious crime and violence. This panel highlights the work of five departments - Birmingham (AL), Camden (NJ), Minneapolis (MN), Pittsburgh (PA), and Stockton (CA).


  • Deputy Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Police Department
  • Sam Kuhn, Field Advisor, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Chief A.C. Roper, Birmingham Police Department
  • Chief Scott Thomson, Camden Police Department
  • Officer Jeff Upson, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (presentation)
  • Deputy Chief Trevor Womack, Stockton Police Department (presentation, 2, 3, 4


Panel Discussion: Understanding and Addressing Harmful Criminal Justice Practices

Description: There is increasing agreement that many traditional criminal justice practices cause harm to individuals, families, and communities. Actors across the criminal justice system exercise enormous discretion: discretion that can be used to halt harmful practices quickly and effectively. Panelists offer direction for more and broader action, while outlining concrete action to reduce harm through policing, setting bail, imposing fines and fees, and using community corrections, while offering direction for more and broader action.


  • Preeti Chauhan, Co-Principal Investigator, Misdemeanor Justice Project, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (presentation)
  • Amy Crawford, Deputy Director, National Network for Safe Communities (Moderator)
  • Thomas Harvey, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Arch City Defenders, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Insha Rahman, Senior Planner, Vera Institute of Justice
  • Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Research Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University


Closing Remarks