Stronger Together: Vera’s Policing Program Works to Bridge the Divide between Police and Community

Stronger Together Policing Program Hero V2

The revised policy aims to prevent police encounters that end in tragedy and violence. It will also help officers avoid being in the position of having to make a split-second decision about using deadly force. And by asking for and incorporating the voices of the community, the APD took a step toward building trust between the police department and the people it serves. Such a relationship is critical to achieving public safety: when people experience policing as adversarial rather than supportive, as is the case in many communities of color, they are less likely to report crime or participate in investigations.

Asheville’s story is an unusual and important one—it shows both the problems confronting policing today and the potential of innovative strategies. And such innovation is needed, because American policing faces some of its greatest challenges in modern history.

Asheville’s story shows both the problems confronting policing today and the potential of innovative strategies.
Spreading PEACE

It is in this context that Vera is launching its new Policing Program. With this program, Vera has expanded its capacity to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies and communities to collaboratively measure, manage, and improve public safety; better respond to the needs of vulnerable populations; and advance a new model for participatory police-community policy development. The program is committed to ending American policing’s overreliance on enforcement as the primary means of ensuring community safety, through implementing and testing alternative responses and facilitating police-community partnerships that give voice to residents’ priorities and concerns.

The launch of Vera’s Policing Program includes the release of a national expansion of the PEACE Initiative through a request for proposals (RFP). Through this RFP, Vera invites law enforcement agencies, with community partners, to apply to become a PEACE site and receive structured support and guidance from Vera. This assistance is centered on a process of collaborative policy development, allowing police departments to modernize their policies with community buy-in, strengthen police-community partnerships, and receive national recognition for demonstrating a commitment to pragmatic police reform. 

America is at a precipice for police reform—there’s been a clear call to improve the way police and communities interact to better meet their common goal of public safety. The PEACE Initiative shows that it is possible for police and communities to come together after a tragedy. With the right tools, we can help enable more of this kind of partnership and prevent future tragedies by shifting the culture of policing away from focusing on enforcement activities and towards crime prevention and community satisfaction, as well as officer wellbeing.