Thursday morning in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) announced the launch of the Justice Department’s National Justice Department’s National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. This initiative has been in development since April of this year. But in the wake of the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael “Mike” Brown in Missouri last month, it appears the Department is working to speed the process along.
By way of a $4.75 million grant, this initiative will provide training, strategies, policy development, and research to form a bridge between law enforcement officials and citizens. With tensions still high in the city of Ferguson, Mo., and other places such as Los Angeles, New York, and Florida, Holder sees a need to repair that growing rift.
“The events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot allow tensions, which are present in so many neighborhoods across America, to go unresolved,” said Attorney General Holder. “As law enforcement leaders, each of us has an essential obligation – and a unique opportunity – to ensure fairness, eliminate bias, and build community engagement. The National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice represents a major step forward in resolving long standing tensions in many of America’s communities and it will allow us to build on the pioneering work that the Justice Department and our law enforcement partners across the country are already doing to strengthen some of our nation’s most challenged areas.”
Along with the aforementioned aspects of the initiative, there will also be a clearinghouse where information, research, and assistance will be available for law enforcement, criminal justice advocates, and leaders of the communities served. Additionally, a three-year grant has been awarded to a group of law enforcement experts under the leadership of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity, and the Urban Institute are the other members of this collaborative effort.
Also aiding in this new effort will be the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Civil Rights Division, and the Community Relations Service. As recommended by the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report from last May, this initiative will address a growing need noted in the research from the group.