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Community-Police Partnerships, and How to Help Them

In a roundtable discussion for Shelterforce, Julia Ryan, director of LISC’s safety and health programs, explained our multi-pronged approach to nurturing collaboration among law enforcement, residents and community developers. The upshot is neighborhoods with lower crime, less blight and greater resident confidence in police.

The excerpt below is from:
Roundtable: Policing and Community Development

Many people in the community development field are conflicted about the police presence where they work. While they often collaborate with law enforcement to respond to concerns about crime in their neighborhoods or their properties, many community development leaders are also aware that the residents they serve are often mistreated by police and are wary of supporting overpolicing or increased incarceration.

We invited a group of practitioners to share their experiences and talk through this tension.

Joining Shelterforce editor Miriam Axel-Lute were: Stella Adams, chief of equity and inclusion at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition; Erika Anthony, senior director of advocacy, policy, and research at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress in Ohio; Steve Lockwood, executive director of Frayser Community Development Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee; Avery Martens, an intern at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress; and Julia Ryan, vice president of the Local Initiative Support Corporation’s (LISC) national community health and safety initiative.

Miriam Axel-Lute: What do you think is the relationship between the community development field and law enforcement?

Erika Anthony: The Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) intersects with law enforcement in a couple different ways, one being placemaking where we intersect with general public safety and engaging with our CDCs and residents when it comes to law enforcement. Our city is currently under a consent decree. It’s a work in progress. We also have the community relations board that was assembled after the consent decree came down, as well as the monitoring team, which is sort of like the third party that’s working with the city and law enforcement on this initiative. We’ve had a couple of interactions with all those groups, but I don’t think we have the secret sauce yet as to how best to increase our capacity and/or improve relations when it comes to local law enforcement. This consent decree has moved this conversation to the forefront. Not that we wanted to have a consent decree, but to be frank, I think it was long overdue. In some ways [we] are appreciative that we are in a more thoughtful conversation as it pertains to how our residents engage with law enforcement.


Julia Ryan: I’m vice president [of LISC’s] national community health and safety work. LISC has been supporting partnerships between community developers and police since the mid-1990s. The model we’ve developed for supporting those partnerships looks to bring together three elements that we think are essential to help reduce and prevent crime in lower-income communities, but also ensure that there’s a respectful, mutually positive relationship between communities and police.

Those three elements are a mobilized community, where people know their neighbors and their police officers; physical investments to address the crime drivers that have to do with the landscape of economic opportunity and the physical conditions of neighborhoods; and then law enforcement and the policy and practice of how people engage with officers and how officers engage with people. We’ve been bringing those three things together to problem solve, particularly [at] the neighborhood level and often on a micro level in crime hotspots. That work ramped up in 2012 when LISC started serving as the national coach and technical assistance provider for a federal program that also honors that approach. Now [we] support those alliances in 66 cities. Contiue Reading[+]...

LISC Safety supports community-police partnerships in 60 cities and rural counties
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