Archives Erica Richardson

U.S. Attorney General Announces New Effort to Reduce Violent Crime

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
May 26, 2021

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced a new Department of Justice effort to help protect our communities from the recent increase in major violent crimes.

“Today, we renew our commitment to reducing violent crime and building strong communities where all Americans are safe,” said Attorney General Garland. “The Deputy Attorney General is issuing a comprehensive strategy to deploy our federal resources in the most effective way, disrupting the most dangerous threats and supporting the ground-level efforts of local law enforcement.  In this endeavor, we will engage our communities as critical partners. And through our grantmaking, we will support programming at all stages—from the earliest violence interruption strategies to post-conviction reentry services.”

The strategy announced today is three-pronged. First, it establishes a set of four fundamental principles to be applied Department-wide to guide violent crime reduction:

  1. Build trust and earn legitimacy. Meaningful law enforcement engagement with, and accountability to, the community are essential underpinnings of any effective strategy to address violent crime, as well as important ends in themselves. Accordingly, building trust and earning legitimacy within our communities is the foundation on which the strategy is built.
  2. Invest in prevention and intervention programs. Violent crime is not a problem that can be solved by law enforcement alone. Accordingly, the Department must invest in community-based violence prevention and intervention programs that work to keep violence from happening before it occurs.
  3. Target enforcement efforts and priorities. The Department is most effective when it focuses its limited enforcement resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting the most significant drivers of gun violence and other violent crime.
  4. Measure results. Because the fundamental goal of this work is to reduce the level of violence in our communities, not to increase the number of arrests or prosecutions as if they were ends in themselves—we must measure the results of our efforts on these grounds.

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Putting Unity in Comm “unity”: Overview of Community-Oriented Policing

By Lashunda Stateson, MSCJ

“We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.” This is a famous quote from the United States’ 28th President, Woodrow T. Wilson. Yet this quote resonates more so today as we see the division between police and citizens along with the numerous protests in response to police misconduct, and the continuous distrust among citizens. Therefore, the concept of community policing is now the most important concept within criminal justice as it is necessary to help bridge the gaps between communities and law enforcement. Community-oriented policing is “an organization-wide policing philosophy and management approach that promotes community, government, police partnerships, and proactive problem solving to reduce a jurisdiction’s crime and social disorder.”1

Implementing such a concept in every precinct can propel moving our country to a more peaceful partnership between those in blue and citizens. As we ponder about ways to bring the community and police officers together, we must sift out the issues that keep them divided. One main issue that divides police and community members is fear of the unknown—i.e., cultural unknowns. If officers are unaware of the cultural differences and ideals of the citizens in which they are interacting, they may detect “normal” or cultural behavior as threatening behavior. This only instills fear in officers, and distrust and miscommunication for citizens. Because of this, we have seen the Zimmerman-Martin cases, in which a Skittles bag and hoodie were seen as suspicious and threatening. Similarly, in the Ahmaud Arbery case that occurred in Brunswick, GA, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man was pursued and fatally shot while jogging in a neighborhood on a public street.

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National Police Foundation endorses Arnold Venture’s Campaign for Criminal Justice Data Modernization

April 28, 2021—The National Police Foundation is pleased to endorse Arnold Venture’s Campaign for Criminal Justice Data Modernization.

According to the report derived from an expert roundtable, “comprehensive criminal justice reform should be an important next step on the administration’s agenda, to help fulfill the hopes of all the civil rights protests in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. Implementation of hallmark justice reforms could have a significant impact for generations to come.”

The report further explains that “an ambitious criminal justice reform agenda will require a strong commitment to building a modern, nimble, comprehensive data infrastructure. Accomplishing this goal will serve multiple purposes. An effective data infrastructure will promote transparency and allow the public to hold its officials accountable. A modern data architecture will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of justice agencies. A strong data system will provide a baseline for measuring progress toward better outcomes, in particular progress toward racial equity.

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Statement Regarding the Trial of Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and the Murder of George Floyd

April 21, 2021—Although the jury has spoken and justice has been served for the family of George Floyd, the stain of the racial injustice at the center of this trial shall never be removed. The pain brought on by the loss of Mr. Floyd’s life will not go away with the verdict of one trial. Neither does policing’s responsibilities and obligations to learn from it and atone for it as a profession. We must own this, and work relentlessly and harder to ensure that the conditions and traditions that brought us here are rooted out. We must ensure that those conditions and traditions are replaced with values and practices that protect and serve humanity and fiercely defend the sanctity of every life. We must be accountable.

VIEW FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

 

National Police Foundation joins 30×30 Initiative as national partner

March 29, 2021— The National Police Foundation is pleased to announce its partnership with a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations in recently launching the 30×30 Initiative. To date, more than 40 policing agencies across the country announced their commitment to the 30×30 Pledge—a foundational effort of the Initiative—which provides a framework for a series of no-cost and low-cost actions that policing agencies can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in all ranks.

The Policing Project at the New York University School of Law, along with the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), are proud founding partners of this critical movement.

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Is Your Agency Leading the Charge?

By Lieutenant Allen Schubert
Los Angeles Police Department

By now everyone with an interest in law enforcement and mending the rifts in our fractured society has seen the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Those who have sworn to an Oath of Office realize that what happened that day has never been, is not now, or will ever be the true face of law enforcement. The outrage is justifiable and our profession’s response, depending on which city one patrols, has run the gamut from promises of reform to major budget cutting.

As you read this article, the National Police Foundation (NPF) is working with Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) to conduct an independent assessment of the Los Angeles Police Department’s response to the spontaneous protests resulting from this tragedy. We expect these two professional organizations will develop some objective recommendations to assist all law enforcement in meeting the increased expectations of community policing, race-relations, and proportional responses to uses of force. Our Department humbly acknowledges when we make mistakes, and this NPF report may identify areas where we can improve. We weigh all constructive criticism on the same scale as our accolades.

That said, the LAPD has never been a reactive agency. History has shown that our Department has been one of the most forward-thinking and progressive leaders in law enforcement. Proactive change is an unofficial Core Value since the 1965 Watts Riots.  Reformers unaccustomed with LAPD policy are surprised to learn that the carotid restraint hold has been designated an immediate defense of life force option since 1982.[1] Our Department has the most detailed use of force (UOF) policy in the Nation. Even a simple firm grip of an injured detainee will trigger a review process that goes through (at-minimum) four levels in a Bureau Chain of Command, before submission for additional, exhaustive analysis by the Critical Incident Review Division. If it is a Categorical Use of Force, the entire incident goes through additional analysis by the Office of the Chief of Police and the BOPC.

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Militias and Police Normalization of Domestic Violent Extremists

By Chief (Ret.) Jim Bueermann

It is illegal in all 50 states to form unauthorized private militia groups.[1] However, 36 states allow the open carry of firearms at protests. As a result, groups carrying arms and wearing tactical gear at protests can generate the public impression that they are sanctioned by the government and even perhaps aligned with police agencies. That impression presents unique challenges to public and officer safety, all the more so as it becomes normalized

Background

The modern U.S. militia movement dates to the 1990s. For most of their history, these groups have been anti-government, labeling as tyranny, many legislative or judiciary actions. Despite these early leanings, most of the current “mainstream” paramilitary movements have cast themselves as sympathetic to former President Donald Trump and against what they claim to be “deep state” conspiracies. While the large majority of such groups are on the far right of the political spectrum, 2020 also saw activity from the extreme left, for example, in the Pacific Northwest.

During 2020, unauthorized armed groups protested health lockdowns, opposed racial justice protestors, conspired to abduct a state governor, and kill law enforcement officers, and, in an event indelibly imprinted on the country’s collective psyche as well as on policing and history, participated in the siege of the U.S. Capitol during which five people died.  Complicating the problem is the fact that that allegiances can and do change as groups splinter or attach to new grievances or leaders.

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2020 Annual Report Now Available!

February 26, 2021—The National Police Foundation (NPF) is pleased to release its 2020 Annual Report. The report highlights NPF’s work throughout 2020 in four key areas: Building trust and legitimacy between police and communities; leveraging scientific research to advance policing; developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of police and communities; and improving officer safety and wellness through data-driven training and technical assistance.

View the report here: https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/2020-annual-report/

Understanding Intergroup Communication as a Pathway for Improving Police Legitimacy

By Lt. Shawn L. Hill, Santa Barbara Police Department; Howard Giles,
Distinguished Research Professor of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara; Edward R. Maguire, Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Arizona State University

Internal and external communications are essential to the success of police organizations. In this article, we focus primarily on external communications, reflecting on how a body of theory and research from the study of communication can be used to improve relationships between police and communities.

Police scholars and practitioners have identified communication as a key to successful policing for decades. As Stanford law professor David Alan Sklansky (2011) has written, policing’s “primary technology is verbal.” Likewise, former police chief Darrel Stephens co-authored an entire “tool-kit for police executives” on strategic communication. Scholarship in the fields of social psychology, communication, and sociolinguistics teaches us how communication can reinforce social categorizations, sometimes resulting in stereotyping and bias that can damage police-community relations.

The ideal of community policing inspires police to build cohesive relationships with communities as a means of co-producing public safety. Implementing that ideal has often been difficult, due in part to communication challenges between police and communities. Furthermore, communities are not homogeneous; they consist of different groups that may have very different perspectives on the police. Communication mediates intergroup relationships and can play a powerful role in enhancing or diminishing them (Gallois & Giles, 1998). Thus, an important step in implementing genuine forms of community policing is understanding how communicative processes between groups work. Enter the field of intergroup communication.

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Applications Available for Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program — Due April 16

SOURCE: U.S. Conference of Mayors

February 17, 2021

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) is pleased to be working with Target on a new grant program for USCM member cities.  Information on it follows. We encourage you to apply.

POLICE REFORM AND RACIAL JUSTICE GRANT PROGRAM
A U.S. Conference of Mayors/Target Opportunity

THE PROGRAM — The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long been recognized for its commitment to both police reform and civil rights and for its leadership through the years in bringing mayors and police chiefs together in working partnerships to strengthen police-community relations and build trust between police departments and the communities they serve. Target has long been committed to creating and maintaining strong, healthy and safe communities, and advancing social justice and racial equity.

On January 21, in the opening session of the 2021 Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President & Chief External Engagement Officer for the Target Corporation, announced the creation of a two-year, $700,000 Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program, a national partnership between the Conference of Mayors and Target aimed at identifying, supporting and promoting police policies and practices in cities shown to be most effective in advancing the goal of justice for all residents.

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