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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fort Worth Selected As One Of The First Six Pilot Sites For The National Initiative For Building Community Trust And Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder Made Announcement This Afternoon Following A My Brother’s Keeper Roundtable Discussion At DOJ

FORT WORTH, Texas – 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 Birmingham, Alabama; Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Stockton, California, are the first six cities to host pilot sites for the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. As part of a larger effort, the National Initiative team will work with each pilot site to assess the police-community relationship as well as develop a detailed site-specific plan that will enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and support reconciliation in communities where trust has been eroded.

“This National Initiative is a multi-faceted approach to enhance community trust and help strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said John Parker, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “I join Fort Worth Police Chief Rhonda Robertson and Mayor Betsy Price in embracing this strategy.”

“The Fort Worth Police Department is honored to be selected as one of the six pilot sites for this groundbreaking study,” said Chief of Police Rhonda Robertson. “Upon learning about the project, we immediately realized the opportunity it would present to strengthen our existing community partnerships and to develop new relationships built upon trust within the community. Fort Worth is already an excellent place to live, work, and visit; and we believe our participation in the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice will make it even better.”

“We’re pleased that Fort Worth was chosen as one of the six pilot sites for this national initiative,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Fort Worth historically has an excellent track record of encouraging diversity as a city. This study will be a valuable tool to open the discussion on equitable treatment in major cities across the nation, including Fort Worth. This study gives us a tool to strengthen our partnership with the justice system and to continue building relationships in the community.”

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 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.”

“Restoring trust where it has eroded is one of the defining public safety challenges of our day,” said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason of the Office of Justice Programs. “Trust-building is the responsibility of the police and the community, and the National Initiative’s goal is to build the bridge that will define a new era in public safety.”

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.

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Updated June 22, 2015