As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect, Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday announced the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. This $4.75 million initiative will seek to assess the police-community relationship in each of the six pilot sites, as well as develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded.
The six pilot sites announced Thursday are Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California.
“The Department of Justice is committed to using innovative strategies to enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded,” said Attorney General Holder. “By helping to develop programs that serve their own diverse experiences and environments, these selected cities will serve on the leading edge of our effort to confront pressing issues in communities around the country.”
Attorney General Holder also announced that the Department of Justice is providing additional training and technical assistance to police departments and communities that are not pilot sites. Through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center (www.OJPDiagnosticCenter.org), police departments and community groups can request training, peer mentoring, expert consultation and other types of assistance on implicit bias, procedural justice and racial reconciliation. Additionally, the initiative launched a new online clearinghouse that includes up-to-date information about what works to build trust between citizens and law enforcement. The clearinghouse can be found at www.trustandjustice.org.
“Restoring trust where it has eroded is one of the defining public safety challenges of our day,” said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason of the Office of Justice Programs. “Trust-building is the responsibility of the police and the community, and the National Initiative’s goal is to build the bridge that will define a new era in public safety.”
The Justice Department established the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice as part President Obama’s groundbreaking launch of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to create opportunities for all young people in this country—regardless of their background—to improve their lives and reach their full potential.
The three-year grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA and the Urban Institute. The initiative is guided by a board of advisors which includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates. In a holistic approach, the initiative simultaneously addresses the tenets of procedural justice, reducing implicit bias and facilitating racial reconciliation. The initiative complements and is advised by other Justice Department components such as the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.