Representatives from a civil rights organization and the city of Laurel, Maryland, come together to sign a mediated agreement. The agreement contained policy changes and strategies for communication after the perceived excessive use of force by law enforcement. (Luke Lavoie/The Baltimore Sun)
The United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service frequently works with state, local and federal government agency administrators, elected officials, and community leaders to address and mitigate the impact of policy changes, administrative practices, zoning, and redevelopment concerns, transportation and school system issues, voting access, and the provision of services that are controversial or result in conflicts based on issues of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability:
- Facilitating training programs, town hall meetings, and dialogues with community members to meet the unique needs and concerns of the community, dispel rumors and misperceptions, and promote collaborative problem-solving between local, state, and federal officials and the community;
- Providing technical assistance in developing and maintaining Human Relations Commissions and other mechanisms to ensure productive and open communication between town, city, state, and federal officials and community members in order to discuss and resolve tension and conflicts associated with allegations of inequitable access to resources, poor police-community relations, and failure to recognize changing demographics; and
- Helping city officials, state, and federal agencies, law enforcement, and demonstration organizers with planning, managing, and coordinating safe marches and protests through rumor control mechanisms, self-marshal training, logistical planning, and on-site mediation services.
Below are examples of CRS's work with municipalities and state and federal agencies in recent years. Additional case summaries may be located in CRS Annual Reports, contained on the CRS Resource Center webpage.