• National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

    The National Network for Safe Communities is leading Yale Law School, UCLA, and the Urban Institute in launching the DOJ's National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, which is designed to strengthen relationships between minority communities and the criminal justice system.

About


CONTACT: Amy Crawford, Interim Project Director T: 646-557-4795​ E: acrawford@jjay.cuny.edu

CLEARINGHOUSE WEBSITE: trustandjustice.org

In September 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice has awarded the National Network for Safe Communities, through John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a three-year, $4.75 million grant to launch a National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.  The National Initiative is directed by Professor David Kennedy, Amy Crawford is the project manager, and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis, Professor Tracey Meares and Professor Tom Tyler of Yale Law School, Professor Phillip Atiba Goff of UCLA, and Dr. Nancy La Vigne and Dr. Jocelyn Fontaine of the Urban Institute are principal partners. The National Initiative is designed to improve relationships and increase trust between minority communities and the criminal justice system. It also aims to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships.

The National Initiative will highlight three areas that hold great promise for concrete, rapid progress:

  • Racial reconciliation facilitates frank conversations between minority communities and law enforcement that allow them to address historic tensions, grievances, and misconceptions between them and reset relationships. 
  • Procedural justice focuses on how the characteristics of law enforcement interactions with the public shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates.  
  • Implicit bias focuses on how largely unconscious psychological processes can shape authorities’ actions and lead to racially disparate outcomes even where actual racism is not present. 

The National Initiative is combining existing and newly developed interventions informed by these ideas in six pilot sites around the country. The six pilot sites, announced in March 2015, are Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California.

The National Initiative is also developing and implementing interventions for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, youth, and the LGBTQI community; conducting research and evaluations; and maintaining a national clearinghouse website at trustandjustice.org, where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders. Through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center, police departments and community groups can request training, peer mentoring, expert consultation and other types of assistance on implicit bias, procedural justice and racial reconciliation.  The initiative will be guided by a board of advisors which will include national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.

ABOUT THE INITIATIVE TEAM

David M. Kennedy has worked for over 20 years to bring reconciliation and substantive change to America’s most distressed communities. He has pioneered strategies for working in real-time partnership with stakeholders at all levels, taking on particular important problems, developing and directing large-scale interventions, and promulgating them nationally. Central to his extensive field work has been a process of racial reconciliation that Kennedy designed by engaging communities historically divided from law enforcement, dispelling toxic misunderstandings between them, fostering a process of truth-telling that allows them to find common ground and address serious violence in partnership, and allowing law enforcement to step back and communities to reset their own public safety standards. Kennedy is the director of the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), a project of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Kennedy’s history in this area includes the Boston Gun Project, which created the now widely-applied “Operation Ceasefire” Group Violence Intervention and reduced youth gun violence citywide; the High Point Drug Market Intervention; the Justice Department’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative, which was the applied nationally as Project Safe Neighborhoods; the Treasury Department’s Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative; the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Drug Market Intervention; and the theoretical development of focused deterrence, which has informed a range of proved interventions focused on homicide, gun violence, drug markets, and community corrections.

Amy Crawford, JD, has extensive experience in developing small teams into sustainable and highly effective organizations through personnel development and cooperative management. She brings to the effort an ability to align day-to-day task management with overarching organizational goals. She is currently the Deputy Director for the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), where she oversees and develops relationships with foundations, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and important community figures. She is also responsible for managing and implementing the strategic agenda of the NNSC. Previously, she has served as the Deputy Director at the nonprofit organization Center for an Urban Future and the Director of Development and Pro Bono at The Bronx Defenders. Crawford has also overseen direct service to underserved, low-income populations, providing legal counsel and advising.

Tom R. Tyler, PhD, brings to the effort his reputation for creating “paradigm shifting scholarship in the study of law and society,” for which he won the Law and Society Association Harry Kalven prize in 2000. He is the Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. Prior to coming to Yale, he also taught at New York University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University. Dr. Tyler has done extensive research and published numerous articles, books, and chapters on how individuals’ judgments about the justice or injustice of certain procedures shape their subsequent legitimacy, compliance, and cooperation, particularly in the field of interactions with law enforcement. Dr. Tyler has worked extensively with Tracey Meares to research and publish findings on police legitimacy and procedural justice and advise agencies on the practical use of these concepts in the field.

Tracey L. Meares, JD, is one of the leading national theorists on police legitimacy and, in particular, how racial narratives influence police relationships with minority communities and how deliberate attention to these issues can influence community compliance with the law. She is a Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School, before which she was Max Pam Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago Law School. Her research focuses on communities, police legitimacy, and legal policy.

Phillip A. Goff, PhD, is best known for his work exploring “racism without racists,” the notion that contextual factors—even absent racial hostility—can facilitate racially unjust outcomes. His research is the first to link psychological factors to an officer’s use of force history, creating the first empirical model for predicting police violence and racial bias in police brutality. Dr. Goff is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has worked as an equity researcher and consultant for police departments around the country, and he has recently established the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) at UCLA.  This national action research network counts more than 75 researchers and numerous major cities as collaborators, each of which provide unfettered access to data for the purposes of creating new research, sparking policy changes and promoting community accountability.

Nancy La Vigne, PhD, has over twenty years of experience as a researcher and evaluator of criminal justice programs, policies, and technologies and brings a wealth of methodological, research, and management expertise to the team. She is the lead author on an upcoming COPS Office report on “stop and frisk,” which explains to a law enforcement audience the potentially negative impact of the practice on police-community relations and describes methods to carry out citizen contacts lawfully, respectfully, and in accordance with the tenets of community policing and procedural justice. Under her leadership, the Justice Policy Center has conducted research projects on justice reinvestment, police accountability, and civilian oversight of the criminal justice system.

Jocelyn Fontaine, PhD, leads research projects that evaluate the impact of community-based initiatives at the individual, family, and community level through both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. She has experience developing survey instruments, facilitating focus groups, conducting fieldwork in a variety of settings, facilitating stakeholder interviews, and translating best practices into program implementation.



News & Updates

Pittsburgh Police Zone Five Working To Improve Community Relations

July 2017  |  CBS Pittsburgh  

Jason Lando is the commander of Zone 5 — once known as the Fighting 5th — the toughest police precinct in the city. But after years of community distrust culminating in the controversial arrest of student Jordan Miles — Lando has tried to set a new tone.

“It’s literally about winning people over one person at a time. You do that by treating people with respect, checking up with the guy on the corner, letting people know you care,” Lando says.

Tags: Pittsburgh National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Want To Be A Chicago Police Officer? You’ll Have To Learn Black History

June 2017  |  DNAinfo  

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, speaking to recruits: “Because violence most often affects those in disadvantaged neighborhoods, due in part to the disparity we desperately need to fix, we also find ourselves interacting more often than not with African-Americans and other people of color. Many of you will start your careers in these areas, and it’s important you understand the history that created the conditions in those neighborhoods.”

Tags: Chicago National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation

Chief Diggs hopes progressive policing will lead to healing in Fort Myers

June 2017  |  News-Press  

Fort Myers police Chief Derrick Diggs implements new tactics to strengthen the relationship between community members and law enforcement. Through efforts to collaborate with consultants, the minority community, institutions, and his own police force, Diggs enacts a progressive reform to his department’s practices in order to focus more heavily on restorative justice, to build trust with the community, and to change the mindset of his police force.

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention

Police speak less respectfully to black drivers, study suggests

June 2017  |  CNN  

Analyzing 183 hours' worth of body camera footage from the Oakland Police Department (OPD), a team of Stanford researchers found that police officers tended to be "less respectful, less polite, less friendly, less formal and less impartial" towards black drivers during traffic stops as compared to whites. Responding to this report, OPD Deputy Chief Leronne Armstrong pointed out that the data used was from 2014. Since that time, the entire department has undergone a series of trainings related to procedural justice. 

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Opinion: How Policing Black Boys Leads To The Conditioning Of Black Men

May 2017  |  NPR  

"Decades of data show that the journey to racial disparity begins when black men are boys. Black boys are policed like no other demographic. They are policed on the street, in the mall, in school, in their homes, and on social media. Police stop black boys on the vaguest of descriptions – 'black boys running,' 'two black males in jeans, one in a gray hoodie,' 'black male in athletic gear.' Young black males are treated as if they are 'out of place' not only when they are in white, middle-class neighborhoods, but also when they are hanging out in public spaces or sitting on their own front porches."

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Details on Fort Worth Police Department’s Community Procedural Justice Initiative

May 2017  |  WFAA  

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, on his department's efforts to improve police-community relations: "Right now, we’re doing our very best to make sure that the community understands we’re there for them, and we’re going to be dedicated to making sure the community understands we are a part of the community."

Tags: Fort Worth National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

Pittsburgh takes steps to reduce violent crime

May 2017  |  The Pitt News  

"Pittsburgh’s newest strategy is a major recognition of what recent research seems to confirm — that violence behaves like infectious disease and is better treated when approached like an epidemic. This methodology can trace its roots to the work of David Kennedy, a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who laid the groundwork for almost every successful program to reduce violent crime today."

Tags: Pittsburgh National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

How Cities Should Manage High-Profile Police Incidents

May 2017  |  Data-Smart City Solutions  

Ron Davis, former Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice, discusses the importance of transparency when cities are dealing with high-profile police incidents.

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L.A. police panel pushes fairness and courtesy as powerful weapons to improve trust in the LAPD

May 2017  |  Los Angeles Times  

The Los Angeles Police Commission voted in favor of a set of changes that will deepen procedural justice practices in the LAPD. These changes relate to "how the department guards against bias, shares data about policing with the public, and disciplines and deploys officers."

Tags: Los Angeles National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

David Kennedy: What Cops Need to Do If They Want the Public’s Trust

April 2017  |  O Magazine  

"There is good work being done to reform policing—from recruiting officers who better reflect the communities they police to training them in implicit bias, de-escalation, and transparency. But nothing can undo history. If black communities are to trust the police, and if we are to increase public safety, we must purposefully break from the past. Many in law enforcement agree."

Tags: National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Reconciliation



Project Director

The National Initiative is currently seeking a permanent Project Director to oversee strategic implementation in six pilot cities around the United States. 


John Jay College

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is home to the National Network for Safe Communities, which works in troubled communities nationally and drives innovative practice in racial reconciliation between law enforcement and minority communities.


Yale Law School

 Yale Law School staff brings leading expertise on procedural justice and interventions to improve perceptions of police legitimacy.


UCLA

The Center for Policing Equity at UCLA brings leading expertise and research capacity around implicit bias.


Urban Institute

The Urban Institute offers extensive evaluation expertise across a wide array of topics germane to the project of the initiative.


Implementation