Scores of American cities have implemented the National Network's strategies with powerful impact over nearly two decades. Substantial research and field experience has proven that these interventions are associated with large reductions in violence and other serious crime.
The efforts of the National Network's cities, using our strategies, represent a workable way forward. They foster a focus on preventing violence and incarceration among the people most likely to be touched by both; help police do their jobs in a way that does not harm, and in fact strengthens, the communities they serve; and support communities in reclaiming their voice about the way they want to live.
Read firsthand testimonials from people doing the work that has allowed major change in troubled communities around the nation.
“The community is starting to see that they can be empowered and supported by the police.”
First, we had to get beyond their anger. Then, we had to help them work through their embarrassment. To help them change, we talk to all agencies that have control over the person. We have a direct link to the social service provider team, so we can help the brothers and sisters get what they need
Risco-Mention Lewis, Deputy Police Commissioner, Suffolk County, New York
Next, the candidates were asked to move to a different room to hear the law enforcement message. Until then, they had not been identified in front of the community. Now they had to stand up in front of 300 revved up community members and walk to the law enforcement meeting. It had to be one of the longest walks they ever took.
Rev. K. Edward Copeland, Pastor, New Zion Missionary Baptist Church
First, I had to come to the realization that what we, the police, were doing was not working. We had a long history of baggage between the police and the minority community. How did they come to believe that the police don’t care? Well, the crack house goes on and on despite their calls to police. Or they see us just driving by after they call to report a guy selling drugs on the corner. But we do care.
James Fealy, Former Chief of Police, High Point Police Department
At that moment the entire room stood in unison. Almost immediately, a line formed to shake the hands of the men standing. Their once worrisome faces had turned to smiles. The moment turned surreal as I began looking around the room to see police officers and public officials talking with the men as if they were everyday acquaintances.
Curtis Penney, Investigator, Chattanooga Police Department
I saw former gang members, convicted murderers, drug dealers—-those reformed men and women who now reach out to others as their penance for what they’ve taken in a previous, unrepentant life—-speak passionately and eloquently, pleading with the young men to take the help being offered. I saw some of these former criminals weep for the soon-to-be lost young men and maybe in some way for themselves and then embraced by society’s elite, both literally and figuratively. The young men saw that, too, and I suspect the significance of that solitary, sincere, and meaningful demonstration of community was not lost on them. And I saw the change that is coming.
Michael Blass, Career Law Enforcement Officer