The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice maintains this information clearinghouse to provide the latest research, tools and guides, best practices, and a wide variety of other resources to communities and law enforcement agencies interested in engaging in processes to reduce implicit bias, enhance procedural justice, and promote reconciliation.
Implicit bias describes the automatic association people make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups.
Procedural justice focuses on the way police and other legal authorities interact with the public, and how the characteristics of those interactions shape the public’s views of the police, their willingness to obey the law, and actual crime rates.
Reconciliation is a method of facilitating frank engagements between minority communities, police and other authorities that allow them to address historical tensions, grievances, and misconceptions, and reset relationships.
"The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convened three focus groups of community stakeholders, frontline officers, and law enforcement executives to discuss building community trust. They discussed strategies that have been used successfully to develop communities of trust and identified challenges facing law enforcement and the community. This toolkit collects some of the most successful strategies, and tools for engaging communities of color, here defined as people of African, Latino or Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Island descent.
Communities of color have faced many decades of real and perceived mistreatment by the justice system and law enforcement, leading to fear, anger, resentment, and distrust. Communities of color often feel marginalized and mistreated. Recognizing and responding to mistrust lies at the heart of building stronger community-police relationships. This requires a variety of resources, protocols, policies, strategies, and training. Communities of color and police must continue to join forces to create safe environments. In this toolkit we share a number of promising programs working to improve community-police relations on a daily basis."
The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice is a project to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system and advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships. In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a three year, $4.75 million grant to establish the project. In collaboration with the Department of Justice, the National Initiative is coordinated by the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with partnership from the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at John Jay College and UCLA, and the Urban Institute.
On September 27, 2016, research conducted by the Urban Institute under the National Initiative was presented by Nancy La Vigne at a Congressional Briefing on "Violence and Violence Prevention." At the briefing, which was sponsored by Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy (CEBCP) in collaboration with WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center, La Vigne detailed data collected from surveys distributed to residents of high-crime, low-income neighborhoods in each of the National Initiative’s six pilot sites—Birmingham AL; Fort Worth, TX; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; and Stockton, CA—that confirms suspicions of longstanding mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color.
For example, fewer than half of all survey respondents believe that police officers are responsive to community concerns and are held accountable for misconduct. Similarly, more than half of those surveyed agreed that officers judge local residents "based on personal biases or prejudices" and that they treat people differently based on their race or ethnicity.
Despite this high degree of mistrust, law enforcement and communities of color share common ground, with many residents willing to serve as active partners in crime prevention. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would report crimes or suspicious activities to police and about half said they would attend community meetings to discuss crime prevention.
These surveys, part of the National Initiative's research and evaluation component, were distributed in each of our six pilot sites before the project was underway. Following its completion, a second round of surveys will be distributed to measure the impact of interventions oriented around implicit bias, procedural justice, and reconciliation.
Click here to download a PDF of the presentation and below for the video.