According to the 2010 Census, 37% of the U.S. population reported their race and ethnicity as something other than “non-Hispanic White alone.” The numbers of people of color have increased by almost 30% between 2000 and 2010, and by 2060, they will make up nearly 60% of the country. Our country is diversifying rapidly and, despite their best efforts, law enforcement often struggle to build trust and partnerships across communities with different languages, cultures, and customs. There is a need to bridge the gap between what is recommended as good police practice and what is implemented in the field. This guidebook series seeks to fill that gap. To improve relations between police and the communities they serve, this three-part guide series—written for police, by police—highlights practical, field-informed approaches to building trust with multiracial and multi-ethnic communities. 

Key Takeaway

In an increasingly diverse America, and a time of enhanced public scrutiny, it is more important than ever for police to build trust and lasting relationships in their communities. This guide series offers field-tested tools and tips—written by police, for police—to build trust effectively. 

Publication Highlights

  • Recruiting a diverse workforce is a key ingredient in assembling an agency that can be most responsive to community needs. Every police department should be expected to have a competent, professional workforce that is responsive and accountable to the community it serves—as well as reflective of it.

  • Policing in the 21st century means preparing police agencies to serve increasingly diverse multicultural populations, including immigrant, refugee, youth, and transgender communities.

  • Understanding the history of policing in the U.S., as well as an agency’s historic relationship with the community it serves, can help officers seeking to implement community-informed policing strategies.

Key Facts


Why a Michigan Law Enforcement Agency Employs Formerly Incarcerated People to Bridge the Police-Community Divide

A key goal of the Policing Program at Vera is to elevate innovative approaches to policing that employ alternatives to enforcement. The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in Michigan is doing just that in its community outreach program employing formerly incarcerated people, which isspearheaded by Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton and Derrick Jackson...

Blog Post
  • Rebecca Neusteter
    Rebecca Neusteter
  • Megan  O'Toole
    Megan O'Toole
December 07, 2018
Blog Post

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Case Study

Sheriff’s Office Hires Formerly Incarcerated Community Members to Promote Alternatives to Enforcement

Since 2009, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) in Michigan has been successfully implementing an innovative community outreach program that employs formerly incarcerated individuals as outreach workers (OWs). OWs assist with proactive policing strategies such as referring community members to resources, applying system expertise to help i...

  • Rebecca Neusteter, Megan O'Toole, Libby Doyle
December 05, 2018