Police and Community Relations: Fostering a Shared Vision for Safe Communities by Applying Principles from Prevention Science
From Left: Dr. Tom Tyler, Dr. Richard Dudley, Lamontre Randall, Dr. Michael B. Greene, Craig Futterman, Colonel Hugh T. Clemments, Jr.
On May 16, 2017, the NPSC hosted a briefing with nationally recognized experts on police-community relations from the perspective of prevention science, which offers some solutions that have not yet been widely implemented.
Recent incidents around the country have drawn the attention of the public, law enforcement agencies, and policy-makers alike given the apparent breakdown in communication between the police and citizens. Both parties have in common the goals to create safe communities, prevent trauma and foster well-being. Collaborative approaches that braid together the work of multiple sectors (including law enforcement, local residents, activists, and community leaders) promise to achieve these goals for all concerned.
This briefing focused on the available data on police community relationships and articulated promising policies and programs that can improve these relationships and boost safety and wellbeing. Several strategies and initiatives generated by prevention science were presented. Although policing is a local undertaking, the federal role is primarily in organizing its funding procedures and providing legislative guidance to enable the kinds of evidence-based initiatives that are needed. Our speakers provided an overview of the challenges to enhancing police and community relations, presented scientific solutions, and discussed policy implications.
Professor, Yale Law School
Police Legitimacy and Community Trust/Cooperation: Discussed the nature, dynamics, and racial disparities regarding police legitimacy and community trust in, and citizen cooperation with, police. Procedural justice approaches, cultural understanding, and community participation were highlighted in the context of the current state of affairs in police-community relationships.
Police Chief, Providence, R.I.
Policing Perspective: Police reform can only be accomplished with the endorsement and support from law enforcement. Recognizing that changes must be made, the importance of cultural change from within police departments, implicit bias, training, transparency and accountability, and collaboration (particularly in the area of mental health) were discussed.
Director, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute
Presentations were summarized and Lamontre Randall, Chair of Baltimore Youth’s Advisory Committee, joined the speakers for a panel discussion and described his work and perspective on urban policing.
Professor, University of Chicago Law School and Director of the Civil Rights & Police Accountability Project
Community Perspective: Discussed and reported on the lived experiences of local young urban residents in their routine encounters with the police: their fears, their hopes, what they think should change and how. Any discussion of change must acknowledge and address these perspectives.
Panel Discussion facilitated by Dr. Nancy La Vigne.
Dudley, R.G., Jr. (2015). Childhood Trauma and its Effects: Implications for Police
Tyler, T.R., Fagan, J., & Geller, A. (2014). Street stops and police legitimacy: Teachable moments in young urban men's legal socialization. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 11(4). 751-785.
Tyler, T.R. (2013). The case for procedural justice: Fairness as a crime prevention tool.
Geller, A., Fagan, J., Tyler, T., & Link, B.G. (2014). Aggressive policing and the mental health of young urban men. American Journal of Public Health, 104(12), 2321-2327
Futterman, C.B., Hunt, C., & Kalven, J. (2016). Youth/Police Encounters On Chicago 's South Side: Acknowledging The Realities. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 125
Lum, C., Koper, C.S., Gill, C., Hibdon, J., Telep, C. & Robinson, L. (2016). An Evidence-Assessment of the Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing — Implementation and Research Priorities. Fairfax, VA: Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy,George Mason University. Alexandria, VA: International Association of Chiefs of Police.
"The Jude Effect:" High-profile police brutality cuts black residents' use of 911 (full article: Desmond, M., Papachristos, A.V., & Kirk, D.S. (2016). Police violence and citizen crime reporting in the Black community. American Sciological Review, 8(15), 857-876.
Steadman, H.J., Morrisette, D. (2016) Police responses with mental illness: Going beyond CIT training. Psychiatric Services, 67(10), 1054-1056.
For more information about policing including additional literature, contact:
Dr. Michael B. Greene, Chair, Violence Prevention Working Group, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives;