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. On May 18, 2021 NACOLE welcomed 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, Field Advisor for the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention (IPVI) and Reconciliation Teams, National Network for Safe Communities, New York, NY
- Paul Smith, Director of Reconciliation, National Network for Safe Communities, New York, NY