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Police and Community Relations: Fostering a Shared Vision for Safe Communities by Applying Principles from Prevention Science
May 16, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am EDT

The National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) will host a briefing with nationally recognized experts on police-community relations from the perspective of prevention science, which offers some solutions that have not yet been widely implemented.  Recent incidents around the country have drawn the attention of the public, law enforcement agencies, and policy-makers alike given the apparent breakdown in communication between the police and citizens.  Both parties have in common the goals to create safe communities, prevent trauma and foster well-being.  Collaborative approaches that braid together the work of multiple sectors (including law enforcement, local residents, activists, and community leaders) promise to achieve these goals for all concerned.

This briefing will focus on the available data on police community relationships and articulate promising policies and programs that can improve these relationships and boost safety and wellbeing.  Several strategies and initiatives generated by prevention science will be presented.  Although policing is a local undertaking, the federal role is primarily in organizing its funding procedures and providing legislative guidance to enable the kinds of evidence-based initiatives that are needed.  Our speakers will provide an overview of the challenges to enhancing police and community relations, present scientific solutions, and discuss policy implications.  Congressional legislators will describe their position on the issue and relevant past or pending legislation.

This session should be of value to legislators/staffers, practitioners, law enforcement leaders, activists, social scientists, national and community organizations, and funders.  Thank you for distributing this announcement to your professional networks (visit here).

May 16, 2017 from 1:00-3:00 pm

Location:  Washington, DC, Specifics TBA

If you plan to attend this briefing, register HERE





Speaking upon their Arrival: Congressional Members.


Welcome by Moderator:  Michael B. Greene, Ph.D. (Rutgers University):


Briefly introduce the speakers, set the focus on a common vision of safety and well-being, acknowledge that in two hours we can only begin to address the entire range of police-community relationship issues, and highlight the role of the federal government (funding, structuring of block grants, research needed).


Expert Testimonies:


  1. Police Legitimacy and Community Trust/Cooperation: Tom Tyler, Ph.D.  (Professor, Yale Law School).


Discuss the nature, dynamics, and racial disparities regarding police legitimacy and community trust in and citizen cooperation with police.  Procedural justice approaches, cultural understanding, and community participation will be highlighted in the context of the current state of affairs in police-community relationships.


  1. Community Perspectives: Craig Futterman, J.D. (Professor, University of Chicago Law School and Director of the Civil Rights & Police Accountability Project at the Law School).


Discuss and report on the lived experiences of local young urban residents in their routine encounters with the police: their fears, their hopes, what they think should change and how. Any discussion of change must acknowledge and address these perspectives.


  1. Policing Perspective: Kevin Davis  (Police Commissioner of Baltimore)


Police reform can only be accomplished with the endorsement and support from law enforcement.  Recognizing that changes must be made, the speaker will discuss the importance of cultural change from within police departments, implicit bias, training, transparency and accountability, and collaboration (particularly in the area of mental health)


  1. Trauma and Police Discretion: Richard Dudley (NYC Psychiatrist, specializing in trauma among urban black youth)


Youth living in urban centers often have a history of repeated exposure to violent traumatic events, and as a result, they have developed trauma-related psychiatric difficulties such as PTSD.  We now know that due to the immaturity of the adolescent brain, such youth are unable to understand and address these psychiatric difficulties, which significantly increases their risk of coming into contact with the police, with potentially disastrous consequences.  Dr. Dudley will discuss how a police officer can most appropriately respond to such traumatized youth, even if the officer has his or her own history of exposure to trauma.


  1. Panel Discussion with Speakers: Facilitated by Nancy La Vigne, Ph.D. (Director, Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute)


First questions and comments from invited local high school students, youth leaders, and local police officers. Representatives from each group will be given the opportunity to ask questions or make comments for the panel.  This will be followed by general questions from the audience.



For more information about this briefing, contact:


Neil Wollman, Ph.D. Co-Director of NPSC and Senior Fellow, Bentley University

NWollman@Bentley.edu 260-568-0116


Diana Fishbein, Ph.D. Director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

Pennsylvania State University and Co-Director of NPSC Dfishbein@psu.edu


NPSC has conducted 12 previous prevention-related briefings (Childhood Poverty; Reducing Violence Against Women ; Evidence-Based Policy; Preventing Opioid Addictions; Healthy Parenting through Primary Care; Reducing Poverty; Violence Prevention; Economics of Prevention; Science to Policy; Juvenile Justice Reform; Scaling-up Implementation; and Interventions Across Policy Areas). Briefings are designed to be of value to legislators, staffers, administrators, researchers, evaluators, educators, practitioners, advocates, and funders.


The National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) is composed of scientists, educators, practitioners and clinicians, policy makers, foundation representatives, and affiliated organizations, housed at the Pennsylvania State University. It works in a nonpartisan manner with Congressional offices and Caucuses and collaborate with like-minded groups and federal agency administrators (e.g., NIH, SAMHSA, ONDCP, OJJDP, CDC) in a mutual advisory capacity.  Coalition members share a common goal of applying validated scientific findings to wide-scale effective implementation of practices and policies to improve the lives of children, adolescents, their families and communities. NPSC works across sectors to address challenges in mental and behavioral health, education, poverty, juvenile and criminal justice, adverse environmental influences and social conditions that contribute to chronic illness and social ills. Their work includes congressional briefings, policy papers, op-eds, and fact sheets for the public and private sectors.






May 16, 2017
9:00 am - 11:00 am


Washington, DC United States + Google Map