Community Conversations

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Finding Common Ground:
Equity and Inclusion in Service Delivery

21st Century Policing Solutions (21CP) LLC and their partner Strategic Applications International (SAI)* have been engaged by the City of Clayton to provide support in strengthening relationships between police and the community, and address the broad issues surrounding policing that can undermine those relationships. Both of the organizations have extensive experience working with diverse communities dealing with complex issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Their experience across the US and the world has taught them that no two communities are alike, so the initial engagement will require meeting with diverse stakeholders and actively listening to the narrative each shares.

They have interviewed more than 35 people from diverse sectors of the Clayton Community and are in the process of interviewing another 35-40 representing various perspectives over the next two weeks. Again, the goal is to listen carefully during this process. The interviews utilize an appreciative inquiry methodology that focuses on what has worked well in community-police engagement and seeks to identify practices designed to enhance understanding and build on shared experiences.

The interviews are designed to collect and process data for 21CP. This will inform the development of a plan for community engagement going into December and the beginning months of 2019. It is clear from the initial interviews that the community engagement plan will likely be multi-level and not just a single event.

21CP will design a strategic approach that begins with small stakeholder meetings of common groups, such as police officers, community members, students, and civic and business leaders to engage in conversations about what trust means in the Clayton community, and what it means to the participants as individuals as it relates to policing and equitable community service delivery. These small group engagements will identify problems, barriers, and solutions to trust building in Clayton and the region. From these meetings they will evaluate and assess community norms around equity, diversity and inclusion, and report back to the community about these norms. Action steps and/or recommendations will emerge that, based on their analysis, they believe the community can embrace, will be empowered to fulfill and be accountable to each other in moving forward.

The Clayton community has an advantage that many do not—substantial resources to address these complex issues: a highly professional police department, academic researchers and thought leaders, community-based organizations who are experienced in this type of engagement, highly engaged and caring citizens, and the Clayton business community, all of whom are invested in building a community of collaboration and cohesion. This is an opportunity for Clayton to create a realistic model for the region and the nation.

21CP and SAI want to hear from you! If you would like to contribute to this process with ideas and engagement, please reach out to them at the following email to schedule an interview or submit your own written comments:

If you could be prepared to address the following questions in your communications it would be appreciated:

  1. When they work right, what do good community-police relationships look like?

  2. What works well between the Clayton Police Department and the community it serves?

  3. What needs to be addressed or what problems solved to make the community feel equitable and inclusive for all who live, work and visit Clayton?

  4. What does equity and inclusion look like and feel like?

*21CP Solutions LLC (21CP) helps law enforcement agencies and communities effectively tackle the challenges of policing in the 21st century.  They assist cities and their police departments in employing best practices for effective, integrity-driven policing that is focused on building trust, strengthening relationships, and community collaboration in public safety.

Strategic Applications International (SAI) works to build community-police trust and relationship building using positive and proactive engagement tools. SAI facilitated the Task Force on 21st Century Policing in 2015 and has completed numerous projects for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. SAI is currently driving a national police reform initiative in Kenya.