Series: Police Perspectives

New blog series explores importance of police/community trust

Susan Shah Former Director // Caitlin Gokey Former Senior Program Associate, Policing
Feb 09, 2015

Across the country, people of all races and ethnicities are talking about police-community relations in the wake of high profile law enforcement encounters that resulted in the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, as well as the murders of two New York City police officers in Brooklyn. We recently participated in a town hall meeting on police and community relations organized by the New York Public Library in Staten Island, not far from where Eric Garner lived and eventually died. This meeting reinforced the need for more dialogue between police and community members. Participants expressed a desire to engage with police personnel in a thoughtful and open manner, and hear their perspectives on how to effectively cultivate and sustain trust with diverse parts of the community.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has created some important opportunities to support these efforts, many of which were launched prior to the events that occurred in Ferguson in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death. Vera’s Police Connecting with Communities of Color (P3C) project—funded by the DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services—is one such initiative. P3C is a national project to produce a field-informed guidebook that advises law enforcement agencies on how to effectively police and build trust with communities of color. Officers of color are the primary authors and contributors to the guidebook, and its “for police, by police” format is geared toward police operations and quick applications in law enforcement contexts.

As we finalize the P3C guidebook—scheduled to be published later this year—we are eager to share our law enforcement partners’ perspectives through a series of blogs. In the coming weeks, our partners will draw on personal experience to convey their thoughts on how to effectively build trust with communities of color—from developing community partnerships and relying on them after contentious incidents, to understanding and appropriately handling contacts with youth and those impacted by trauma, to police training on implicit bias. 

We believe that these perspectives can support community healing and successful police-community collaborations that lead to reductions in violence and improve community members’ quality of life. 

The Police Perspectives: Building Community Trust blog series explores the importance of—and provides guidance on how to build and enhance—positive relationships between law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities they serve.