March 18, 2015

View full press release.

The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is honored to be leading this effort, under which National Network Director David Kennedy and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis will collaborate with a consortium of national law enforcement experts to assess the police-community relationship in each pilot site and develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance procedural justice, reduce bias, and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been harmed. We are eager to begin this work.

“The Department of Justice is committed to using innovative strategies to enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded,” said Attorney General Holder. “By helping to develop programs that serve their own diverse experiences and environments, these selected cities will serve on the leading edge of our effort to confront pressing issues in communities around the country.”

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, 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

“Restoring trust where it has eroded is one of the defining public safety challenges of our day,” said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason of the Office of Justice Programs. “Trust-building is the responsibility of the police and the community, and the National Initiative’s goal is to build the bridge that will define a new era in public safety.”

The Justice Department established the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice as part the launch of President Obama’s groundbreaking 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 will be led by David Kennedy of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with Tracey Meares and Dr. Tom Tyler of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale Law School, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff of the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, and Dr. Nancy La Vigne and Dr. Jocelyn Fontaine of the Urban Institute making up the rest of the consortium. Dr. Tracie Keesee will serve as Project Director of the initiative, which will also receive guidance from a board of advisors that includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates. In a holistic approach, 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 ServicesOffice on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.

National Network for Safe Communities