Thursday, March 12, 2015


The Justice Department Announces the First Six Pilot Sites For the National Effort to Build Trust and Reconciliation

As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Birmingham, AL; Ft. Worth, TX; Gary, IN; Minneapolis, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; and Stockton, CA to be the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. As part of a larger effort, the National Initiative team will work with each pilot site to assess their police-community relationship and develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance procedural justice, reduce bias, and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been harmed.

The Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School—a center recently launched by Professors Tracey Meares and Tom Tyler—is one of the academic institutions that have joined together to form the National Initiative. The Collaboratory brings together scholars and researchers of diverse theoretical and methodological orientations at Yale University and elsewhere to work on issues related to institutional reform and policy innovation and advancement. It infuses theory, empirical research, and targeted clinical trials in order to achieve its goal of making the components of criminal justice operation simultaneously more effective, just, and democratic.

In addition to supporting the efforts of the National Initiative generally, the Collaboratory has primary responsibility for designing metrics to measure and demonstrate the effect of the interventions in the six pilot cities and comparing the results with six untreated comparison communities. The Collaboratory will take a leading role in producing reports and scholarly articles to disseminate the results of these interventions and their effects on building community trust and justice in the six pilot sites.

In addition to the pilot sites being selected, the Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice is providing additional training and technical assistance to police departments and communities that are not pilot sites. Through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center (www.OJPDiagnosticCenter.org), police departments and community groups can request training, peer mentoring, expert consultation and other types of assistance on implicit bias, procedural justice and racial reconciliation. Additionally, the National Initiative launched a new online clearinghouse that includes up-to-date information about what works to build trust between citizens and law enforcement. The clearinghouse can be found at www.trustandjustice.org.

The Justice Department established the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice as part President Obama’s groundbreaking launch of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to create opportunities for all young people in this country — regardless of their background — to improve their lives and reach their full potential.

The three-year grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School (The Justice Collaboratory), the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, and the Urban Institute.

The initiative is guided by a board of advisors, which includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates. The initiative will simultaneously address the tenets of procedural justice, reducing implicit bias, and facilitating racial reconciliation. The initiative will compliment and be advised by other Justice Department components such as the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.