Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Selection Of Stockton As A Pilot Site For National Initiative For Building Community Trust And Justice
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing commitment to strengthening the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Stockton, California has been selected as one of only six cities to serve as a pilot site for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.
United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner was present in Washington D.C. with the Attorney General when the formal announcement of Stockton’s selection was made earlier today. This $4.75 million national initiative will seek to assess the police-community relationship in each of the six pilot sites, as well as develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation. The other five pilot sites are Birmingham, Alabama; Ft. Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Stockton’s selection was based in part on its size, crime rates, and demographics. However, a critical element in its selection was the Stockton Police Department's willingness to openly participate in this initiative.
Stockton’s City Manager Kurt Wilson said, “Chief Eric Jones is one of the most respected law enforcement leaders in the country. He has been fully engaged locally, statewide, and nationally. We are thankful for his leadership, and by his team joining this initiative, we feel it will boost these leading edge efforts because some of his evidence-based strategies that are already underway fit into this model.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to using innovative strategies to enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded,” said Attorney General Holder. “By helping to develop programs that serve their own diverse experiences and environments, these selected cities will serve on the leading edge of our effort to confront pressing issues in communities around the country.”
“I am grateful for Stockton’s enthusiastic participation in this initiative,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Recent events across the country highlight the profound consequences where there is a lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves. Stockton is committed to building and maintaining trust with its community, and ensuring that the difficulties experienced elsewhere do not occur here. Through this initiative, Stockton will set examples that can be used throughout our District.”
“The Stockton Police Department places a high value on building strong relationships with our citizens, and many recent efforts have been undertaken in the City of Stockton to build community trust,” said Chief Eric Jones. “I am proud of the men and women of the Stockton Police Department because they have all helped us to be successful with our Ceasefire Crime-Fighting Strategy and our Police Legitimacy and Procedural Justice Training and application.”
Attorney General Holder also announced that the Department of Justice is providing additional training and technical assistance to police departments and communities that are not pilot sites. Through the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center (www.OJPDiagnosticCenter.org), police departments and community groups can request training, peer mentoring, expert consultation and other types of assistance on implicit bias, procedural justice and racial reconciliation. Additionally, the initiative launched a new online clearinghouse that includes up-to-date information about what works to build trust between citizens and law enforcement. The clearinghouse can be found at www.trustandjustice.org.
The Justice Department established the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice as part President Obama’s groundbreaking launch of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to create opportunities for all young people in this country—regardless of their background—to improve their lives and reach their full potential.The three-year grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, and the Urban Institute. The initiative is guided by a board of advisors that includes national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates. In a holistic approach, the initiative simultaneously addresses the tenets of procedural justice, reducing implicit bias and facilitating racial reconciliation. The initiative complements and is advised by other Justice Department components such as the Office of Justice Programs, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Office on Violence Against Women, the Civil Rights Division and the Community Relations Service.