Community Relations Service
Community Relations Service
United States Department of Justice
600 E. Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
Conduct Community Assessments
- Identify potentially vulnerable groups in your city. Determine the most likely sites or locations for incidents. Do an assessment of community tension levels. CRS can provide specific information on how to establish a Distant Early Warning Signs (DEWS) process.
- Hold periodic debriefings with command staff on racial and ethnic community tensions.
- Conduct "audits" of the department's racial tensions and assess how they might affect policing practices.
Review Patrol Practices
- Increase patrol activities, including walking patrols and other community oriented policing practices, in particularly vulnerable communities where harassment or hate incidents might occur.
- Visit schools, work sites, and other public places where harassment or incidents might occur. Show a police presence and direct officers to talk with people about respecting the rights of others and keeping the peace.
Conduct Community Outreach
- Call and meet with community leaders to discuss problems, concerns, and tensions.
- Speak out against hate crimes. Reassure the community. Hold press conferences emphasizing the department's commitment to investigate vigorously all hate crime and hate incident activity.
- Establish a community task force. Reach out to the community in a proactive manner. Enlist leadership from the widest cross-section of communities.
- Establish police-school task forces on safety and security. The Community Relations Service offers training programs, including the Student Problem Identification and Resolution Program, which prepare law enforcement agencies to lead police-school problem solving efforts.
- Arrange direct lines of communication with community leaders (people in neighborhoods to whom other people listen) and in cases where a potentially negative community response is likely (a shooting incident, a high profile crime). Convene meetings with these leaders to explain and clarify police procedures and requirements. Provide non-confidential information to mitigate fears and rumors in the community.
- Consider specific projects (dialogues, forums, rallies, unity celebrations) which give people constructive ways to express concerns. CRS can provide specific guidance on how to facilitate community dialogues.
- Prepare yourself for tough questions from the public. Anticipate questions and formulate constructive responses.
- Institute initiatives and partnerships with community-based organizations (rallies, forums, dialogues). CRS can provide specific guidance on how to conduct a community dialogue.
- Expand/establish relationships with the local media to facilitate accurate information and safety messages.
- Train staff on the culture, language, and customs of racial and ethnic groups. Use "ethnic experts" to help conduct the training.
- Do roll call training -- 5 to 10 minute presentations on basic information about Islam, Muslims and Sikhs.
- Establish a Speakers Program using experts in cross cultural communications and knowledge of particular racial and ethnic groups to train your employees.
- Establish vehicle "visor cards" for patrol staff which provide basic facts on Islam, Muslims, and Sikhs.
Review Departmental Policies and Procedures
- Review departmental policies and protocols on responding to hate crime and hate incidents. If the department does not have such policies in place, invite a diverse group of officials and civic leaders to help construct them. If the department has policies in place, publicize them widely.
- Have in place a policy and plan for use of interpreters. AT and T has a service if you cannot find local resources (1-800-628-8486).
- Review/revise plans and protocols for responding to major demonstrations and special events. CRS can provide information on the management of major demonstrations and special events.
- Establish or expand a Bias Incident Unit or Bias Response Team.
- Review, revise, and/or expand the Department's recruiting efforts among ethnic and racial minorities.
Use a Free Federal Resource
- Contact the Community Relations Service, United States Department of Justice, your free "on-call" resource to help you reduce and resolve community racial and ethnic tensions. See www.usdoj.gov/crs, or call Tim Johnson at (202) 305-2935.
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Last Update November 16, 2001