New Report: Reconciliation Between Police and Communities
Date:  09-26-2018

Report offers four components for a foundation to build reconciliation
From the report by The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College:

Introduction

The divide between American police and the communities (especially minority communities) they serve is not a single divide. It plays out in different ways in thousands of neighborhoods across the country; state to state, city to city, neighborhood to neighborhood, even block to block, the local experiences and histories on which distrust is based are unique. However—and encouragingly—our research suggests that effective efforts at reconciliation are made up of a set of generally applicable practices. Not all sites that begin on a path toward reconciliation engage all of these areas, or in this order, and some do more. The most promising efforts to overcome the distrust between police and minority communities, however, share these four components: (1) an acknowledgment of harm, (2) listening and narrative sharing, (3) fact finding, and (4) policy and practice changes.

1. Acknowledgment of harm. A public acknowledgment by the police of harm they have done—as an institution, a department, or, at times, as an individual officer—and a commitment to improvement

2. Listening and narrative sharing. Sessions and outreach to air and collect group concerns and individual narratives

3. Fact finding. Compiling a clear, objective account of the history that has necessitated the reconciliation process

4. Policy and practice changes. Collaboratively specifying, developing, and implementing concrete changes to policy and practice

Taken together, these components represent a powerful foundation on which reconciliation can be built. Owning and condemning past harms aligns the values of police with community; listening and narrative sharing offers the opportunity for groups to better understand one another’s lived experience; fact finding establishes a shared understanding of past events and current conditions; and policy and practice change uses this new trust to build mutually beneficial conditions for all parties. Figure 1 on page 4 is a graphic representation of a reconciliation process framework that has been pursued by the cities participating in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. The framework incorporates many of the components described here; lessons learned from these sites are included in this chapter. The following sections describe the scope of each component and present what each component looks like in practice. Continue reading >>>