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New Guidebooks Aim to Help Police Officers Connect With Diverse Communities

The Vera Institute of Justice today released three guidebooks aimed at fostering community policing strategies and building trust with diverse communities. The release was announced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the launch of the second phase of her national Community Policing Tour at the Doral Police Department in Miami-Dade County, highlighting the first pillar of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing’s recommendations: building trust and legitimacy.

Designed to help police officers working with communities of people of differing races, religions, cultures, and languages, and written with support from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the complete series—titled Police Perspectives Guidebook Series: Building Trust in a Diverse Nation—comes at a time when many law enforcement agencies are struggling to meaningfully engage with increasingly diverse communities, particularly those where relationships with the police are strained.

“Building trust in the justice system is an essential part of a nationwide conversation about criminal justice reform,” said Nicholas Turner, president of the Vera Institute of Justice. “It is imperative that we restore trust between law enforcement, who are the gatekeepers to our justice system, and the communities they serve. Fortunately, as these guidebooks vividly illustrate, there are indeed police leaders that aim to bridge the gap between police and diverse communities. We are pleased to be able to highlight their work to help make the promise of community policing a reality in every community.”

The guidebooks’ primary authors and contributors are police officers, many of whom are officers of color, and their writing is informed by personal experiences. The content—delivered in formats such as checklists, Q&As, and tips from the field—is designed so that the authors’ experiences and expertise can be easily applied by their policing peers around the country for on-the-ground interactions with community members.

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