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Protecting Communities Serving the Public

The 42-page discussion guide, Protecting Communities Serving the Public (2000), from Everyday Democracy, is designed into five session to help build trust and respect between residents and police officers to co-create safer communities together.

The guide reviews what the community-wide study circle program is, and each of the five sessions:

Session 1- Starting out study circle: sharing our experiences
Session 2- What’s the nature of the problem?
Session 3- What do we expect from each other?
Session 4- How can we make progress?
Session 5- Committing to change: What needs to happen in our community?

Below is an excerpt from the guide, which can be downloaded in full from Everyday Democracy’s site here. The guide is available in Spanish here.

ED_ServingPublicFrom the guide…

In most communities, residents and police departments have good relationships. Yet many communities are looking for ways to improve those relationships. This may be particularly true where cultural tensions, policing practices, and a lot of media attention lead to distrust, anger, and fear. Everyone is affected.

*  Citizens think the police are prejudiced and have unfair policies.
*  Police feel blame for all kinds of social problems. They feel they don’t get credit for doing their jobs.
*  Local elected leaders feel pressure to reduce crime.

Many things cause problems between residents and police:

*  race, culture, and class background
*  community history and politics
*  laws and policies from outside the community
*  the culture of the police department itself

People from different backgrounds or experience often view issues in different ways. For example, some people blame police for profiling when they arrest people of color. Other praise police for arresting the people who commit crimes, no matter what their color. Finding common ground for solutions is hard. Most of the time, people who see things differently don’t take the time to talk to each other, much less work together. To make matters worse, problems between police and citizens often get talked about only after a crisis. Then, people are very upset and it’s even harder to address the problems.

Read the full guide on Everyday Democracy’s site here.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: www.everyday-democracy.org/resources/protecting-communities-serving-public

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