September | October 2014

Justice Department Launches National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

On September 18, 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the launch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. Funded through a 3-year $4.75 million grant, the initiative will provide training to law enforcement and communities on bias reduction and procedural fairness and will apply evidence-based strategies in five pilot sites around the country. It will also establish a clearinghouse where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible to law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners, and community leaders.

Recent protests in Ferguson, MO, following an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed teen have brought national attention to the importance of strong police-community relationships, which has been a priority for the Justice Department under Attorney General Holder.

The grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts led by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, and the Urban Institute make up the rest of the consortium. The initiative will be guided by a board of advisors that will include national leaders from law enforcement, academia, and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.

The initiative will complement and be advised by other Justice Department components, such as the Office of Justice Programs, OJJDP, Community Oriented Policing Services, the Civil Rights Division, and the Community Relations Service.

This initiative addresses a recommendation in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report released in May. The task force recommended that the Department of Justice establish a vehicle to build capacity in communities and build an evidence base around enhancing procedural justice, reducing bias, and supporting reconciliation in communities where trust has been harmed.

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More information about the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice and My Brother’s Keeper is available online.