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NUCPS launches police-community relations workshop


On April 11 and 12, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety (NUCPS) hosted a pioneering two-day workshop on police-community partnerships, Preventing Community Crisis: By Developing, Managing and Improving Police-Community Partnerships.

Nearly 40 senior leaders from law enforcement agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota participated in the first course. Participants described the workshop as “eye-opening,” “practical,” and a “must-attend”. Based upon the success of the April event, NUCPS plans to make Prevent Community Crisis workshops and related tools available to agencies around the country.

“The landscape of American law enforcement is undergoing a seismic shift,” said NUCPS Executive Director, David Bradford. “It’s heartening to see the caliber of leaders who participated in this event. At NUCPS, it’s part of our mission to bring together researchers, experts from the field, and senior law enforcement leaders. This workshop is not a passive training. It’s a collaborative and engaging event. Because it’s through dialogue and by learning from each other that we will create the next level of accomplishment for American law enforcement.”

Presenters at the April session included Professor Wesley Skogan, Northwestern University; Professor Destiny Peery, Northwestern University Law School; Professor William P. McCarty, University of Illinois-Chicago; Chief Yost Zakhary, Woodway, Texas; Chief Rick Tanksley, Oak Park, Illinois; and Dr. T.R. Carr, a member of the Ferguson Commission and former mayor of Hazelwood, Missouri. The workshop was facilitated by John Furcon, director of research and consulting at NUCPS. The group was welcomed by Dean Thomas Gibbons of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies.

During the workshop presenters and participants explored the “what” and the “why” of two topics central to the effectiveness of police-community partnerships: recognizing and addressing implicit bias and implementing procedural justice. Then working in small breakout groups, the students tried out the center’s new proprietary diagnostic tool, the Police-Community Partnership Checklist.

“The goal of the NUCPS program is to go beyond the generalities of conventional training,” said Furcon, the workshop’s facilitator and lead designer. “We want leaders who take time away to attend our course to leave with practical ideas and tools they they can apply right away in their agencies and with their communities. Already one major Illinois police department is rolling out the diagnostic process to its entire command staff with the intention of cascading it down through the ranks.”

NUCPS recommends the Prevent Community Crisis workshop to all chiefs, sheriffs, commanders and city managers who want to ensure that they and their organizations are prepared to navigate the changing tides of police-community relations.

Future sessions of the Prevent Community Crisis workshop scheduled this year include:

  • September 27-28, Village Hall, Oak Brook, IL
  • November 1-2, Missouri Athletic Club, St. Louis, MO

    For details and to register, visit the Prevent Community Crisis workshop page on our website.