In response to recent and historic traumatic events that caused distrust and strained relationships between law enforcement and their communities, the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime (OVC), selected five demonstration sites to invest in restorative and healing activities to repair community-police relationships.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) worked closely with the sites over the three-year grant period to improve relations through evidence-based interventions, technical assistance, and peer learning. The program, Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm began in the selected cities, which included 1) Baton Rouge, Louisiana; 2) Houston, Texas; 3) Minneapolis, Minnesota; 4) Oakland, California; and 5) Rapid City, South Dakota.
The purpose of Collective Healing was to foster meaningful dialogue and reconciliation among law enforcement agencies and the communities of color they serve, to increase the capacity of victim services programs, and to address officer health and wellness.
Collective Healing programs were led by police departments and supported by victim assistance programs, behavioral health agencies, grassroots organizations, and academic partners. IACP provided technical assistance and training and conducted site visits to monitor accountability and effectiveness.
The Baton Rouge Collective Healing Initiative was conducted from October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2020. The Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) served as the lead and fiscal agent for the project. BRPD hired a program manager to coordinate the partnership and complete grant activities. The original core members of the Baton Rouge Collective Healing Initiative included community partners who were vested in improving community-police relationships.
The core partners included 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Capital Area Human Services, LSU Social Research and Evaluation Center, and the Southern University, Center for Social Research.
Thomas-Smith, J., Rhodes, J.L.F., & Perry, K. (2020). Baton Rouge Collection Healing Initiative: Final Report. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University, Social Research and Evaluation Center.