DOJ National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice

The National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice is designed to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system.

The initiative also aims to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships.

In September 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice (DoJ) awarded the National Network for Safe Communities, through John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a three-year, $4.75 million grant to launch the National Initiative. Implemented in collaboration with DoJ, the project is led by Professor David Kennedy and Dr. Tracie Keesee (Project Manager), with the following experts serving as Principal Partners:

  • Jeremy Travis, John Jay College President 
  • Professor Tracey Meares, Yale Law School
  • Tom Tyler, Yale Law School
  • Phillip Atiba Goff, UCLA
  • Nancy La Vigne, Urban Institute
  • Jocelyn Fontaine, Urban Institute

The National Initiative will highlight three areas that hold great promise for concrete, rapid progress: implicit bias, procedural justice, and reconciliation. It will combine existing and newly developed interventions informed by these ideas in six pilot sites:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Gary, Indiana
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Stockton, California

It will also develop and implement interventions for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, youth, and the LGBTQ community, as well as conduct research and evaluations.

The pilot sites were chosen based on jurisdiction size, ethnic and religious composition, and population density; a willingness and capacity of their stakeholders to engage in the research, interventions, and the evaluation process where also considered. The chosen locations for the National Initiative showed that real, measurable improvements between the local community and the police were possible.

Additional training and technical assistance are available to police departments and communities that are not pilot sites through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center. A national clearinghouse at will make resources, research, and updates publicly available.

The National Initiative is guided by 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.

Kristen Powell and Camille Beckles manage Center for Policing Equity's National Initiative project.