Securing Equal Justice

Building Bridges Between Police and Communities

Policing in America is facing a crisis of legitimacy and purpose. What the future holds is uncertain, but it’s ripe not only with peril, but with potential. We can rededicate policing as a public service based in trust between law enforcement and the diverse communities they serve and protect. This is critically important now—as we all can see—but also deep into our future as America evolves into a majority-minority nation. 

Our work gets to one of the roots of the current crisis: police practices that are not aligned with the needs and desires of their communities. We’re collaborating with experts nationally to nurture bottom-up policing, where whole agencies—not just special units or liaisons—are informed by, demonstrate respect toward, and are responsive to the community. Such community-informed policing understands the connection between public satisfaction and public safety and measures both, is a prudent gatekeeper of the justice system, and reflects a right-sized role for law enforcement in responding to crime and the social problems that underlie it. It appreciates the role that present and historic racism has played in corroding trust and good will. At the same time we are engaging the rank and file in developing these reforms. Their real life experiences with community members are often not considered when making policy changes. 

Other work includes working with law enforcement to divert youth from the justice system and into family and community supports, and to elevate awareness of how police can take the lead on harm reduction strategies in response to substance use, and diversion of people with mental health needs from justice system to the health supports they need.

Related Work

Vera’s Policing Program Releases Second Volume of “Emerging Issues in American Policing” Quarterly Digest

Recent research unveils how factors like police stress, supervision strategies, and calls for service affect officer and community wellbeing. Emerging Issues in American Policing is a quarterly digest tailored to practitioners and community members interested in policing. It is designed to elevate new and innovative research on policing practices a...

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Vera’s Policing Program Launches "Emerging Issues in American Policing" Quarterly Digest

As increased national attention has focused on troubling policing incidents and calls to reform policing practices, the need for empirical research and lived examples of effective approaches in modern day policing continues to grow. Although a great volume of research on policing strategies has been published, much of this work is written for an ac...

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

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Police and Communities Must Work Together to Support Victims of Hate Crimes

After the 2016 presidential election, unusually large numbers of children and adults all over the United States have reacted by expressing hate, bigotry, and racism, contrary to our best principles of equality. Hate crime has been unleashed—with swastikas painted in playgrounds and schoolyards, attacks on Muslim school girls and cries of “build the...

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