Partnering with communities and police departments to rethink public safety and renew trust in policing
All people deserve to feel safe in their homes, communities, and country. Safety is a civil and human right without which people cannot thrive and democracy cannot function. But our nation’s approach to public safety — and whom it protects — is at odds with our shared values of fairness, equity, and justice.
Protecting communities and maintaining safety has long been a core responsibility of police. They are first responders to emergencies, behavioral health crises, and violent crime. Yet our county has a troubled history of policing. From early slave patrols to the modern-day criminalization of people of color, policing has sowed deep distrust of law enforcement across our nation. That history is alive today, borne out in disparities in practices ranging from stops and searches to arrests and use of force.
New Era of Public Safety
To ensure that police officers serve and protect people in all communities, our sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, launched the New Era of Public Safety initiative, which offers groundbreaking tools to increase trust, fairness, justice, and mutual respect between police departments and the communities they serve. The report and toolkit offer community-centered policy solutions to equip communities and police departments with best practices and recommendations for adopting 21st century policing models, including tools for advocacy.
Community voices must be at the center of law enforcement. When police departments and communities work together toward common goals, they build trust in the nation’s police force, ensure police policies and practices align with community values and uphold people’s civil rights, and strengthen public safety. We have the power, individually and collectively, to reorient how we think about public safety and drive meaningful change.
The Power of Data
Data is a lever for social change. We are working with communities and local police departments to collect data about police policies and practices. With robust data, police departments and communities can address systemic injustice, improve policing culture, and repair relationships with various community groups. Transparency and accountability are critical to advancing 21st century policing and ensuring that police comply with civil rights laws and protections.
We all have a role to play in shaping policing and public safety in our communities. Here are a few ways to make your voice heard in the movement for racial justice and police accountability.
Gupta Urges Congress to Adopt Strong Police Accountability Framework
WASHINGTON – In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called on lawmakers to adopt important policy solutions that promote police accountability and respect the dignity of all people. Prior to The Leadership Conference, Gupta led the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she oversaw efforts to address systemic constitutional violations by law enforcement agencies through pattern or practice investigations and the enforcement of consent decrees.
Civil Rights Leaders’ Statement on Justice in Policing Act
WASHINGTON -- Leading national racial justice organizational leaders today issued a joint statement on the bicameral introduction of the Justice in Policing Act:
Justice Department Must Investigate Murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd
WASHINGTON – Citing our nation’s longstanding need to address state-sponsored violence targeting Black people, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights joined over 200 organizations on this National Day of Mourning in demanding full transparency from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the findings from its criminal investigation into George Floyd’s death. In a second letter, more than 200 organizations also urged DOJ to pursue a federal civil rights investigation into the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.
Interested in learning more about the New Era of Public Safety initiative, sharing a story about your experience with policing, or getting involved? Contact our team today.