This article presents findings on the relationships between six police departments and their respective communities across the United States.
The report evaluates the work of the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice (National Initiative) with six police departments and their communities using data spanning from 2012 through 2017, and examines whether the National Initiative resulted in changes in crime rates, police department practices, and police-community interactions; it also reviews any observed changes in racial and ethnic disparities. The National Initiative’s goal was to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system; its work was based on three pillars: procedural justice, implicit bias, and reconciliation. The authors’ data analysis revealed that the National Initiative’s impacts across implementation sites were minimal and varied based on location. They conclude that improving relationships between community members and police officers is possible but requires faithful and consistent implementation, and strong leadership from police executives. The authors make three recommendations for future research on this topic: (1) standardizing police data collection and definitions of current administrative data, (2) exploring new methods for collecting data on more pertinent outcomes, and (3) making data publicly available and easily accessible. Outcomes data used in the impact analysis include calls for service, violent and property crimes, use-of-force incidents, pedestrian and traffic stops, and arrests. The authors employed Bai-Perron structural break analyses to measure statistically significant increases or decreases in the outcomes.