National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice
Police departments and the communities they serve are increasingly looking for ways to build trust, understanding, and meaningful change. Even when police are willing to reform policies and take more community-centered approaches, reluctance to confront past and present harm leave those efforts on a shaky foundation. Drawing from transitional justice processes like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-Apartheid South Africa, a police-community reconciliation process addresses mistrust from the root, while building front-end accountability for change. In this process, communities and law enforcement name the harms that have been done; encourage those who caused harm to acknowledge and commit to repairing it; give voice to the harmed to share their experiences and have them honored; take concrete steps to repair those harms, and construct a better way forward together.
The National Network for Safe Communities has helped communities and police build effective, collaborative public safety partnerships through its many violence interventions and a multi-year, multi-site pilot project with the U.S. Department of Justice: the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Join us on May 18, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET as we welcome Paul Smith and Danneile Davis from the National Network for Safe Communities to introduce the police-community reconciliation framework and discuss its applications and impact.
Danneile Davis has spent the past decade working in the field of gender-based violence: as an activist, rape crisis advocate, philanthropist, and most recently as a Field Advisor for the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention (IPVI) and Reconciliation teams at the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), an action research center based at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Having launched her career at Bain & Company’s Chicago Office as a management consultant, she has since taken those skills to NNSC where she provides hands-on strategic advising and support for sites’ data management to project managers, law enforcement executives, community-based organizations, and other leadership at NNSC partner cities across the country.
Ms. Davis’s specific portfolio focuses on strategies to reduce gender-based violence and strengthen police-community trust, particularly with survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence, and in communities further marginalized by race, ethnicity, and gender and sexual identity, expression, and orientation. A notable former project was the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, a multi-year, multi-site USDOJ-funded pilot project described by the Urban Institute as “the largest and most comprehensive effort ever undertaken to tackle police-community mistrust in the United States.”
Paul Smith is the Director of Reconciliation at the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), an action research center based at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He previously directed NNSC’s Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy, an initiative seeking to dramatically reduce group and gang violence in the City of Chicago.
Prior to joining the National Network, Paul worked as the Public Safety Coordinator for the City of Chattanooga. He was responsible for managing Chattanooga’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy and coordinated with city officials, law enforcement, social service providers and community members to develop and implement the strategy. Paul was also the Executive Principal of The Howard Schools in Chattanooga, TN where he and his team made exceptional strides in student achievement and school transformation.