Safe Streets will build on its existing strong relationships in Pierce County to facilitate communication across the barriers that have arisen between community members and the institutions that should serve them.
The Strengthening Community Safety initiative will:
– Recruit and convene community partners with significant connections to BIPOC communities to become partners in the Strengthening Communities Safety initiative;
– Create a Youth Advisory Committee to help youth develop the knowledge and skills to be leaders in their communities and bring their voice to community issues that impact healthy community-police relations;
– Engage businesses to help prevent crimes, such as vandalism and burglaries, through safety training and other prevention activities
– Identify the changes that law enforcement, organizations and communities can make to improve safety and build community cohesion.
In this initiative, we are partnering with diverse organizations strongly grounded in the communities that they represent. They include the Asian Pacific Cultural Center, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, OASIS Youth Center, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Tacoma Community House and Tacoma Urban League. Each of these organizations brings to the table embedded experience with under-served and under-represented communities.
These partner agencies will engage both adults and youth in listening and co-design sessions, offering youth the opportunity to participate in general community listening and co-design sessions, but also offering youth-specific listening and co-design sessions in order to ensure that youth have a comfortable and age-appropriate space for expressing their voice and perspective on community safety needs and their perceptions of law enforcement.
These partner agencies are working with Safe Streets to engage with both adults and youth in listening and co-design sessions that are designed to provide the opportunity for community members to share their own experiences with safety and with community-law enforcement relations.
This initiative was formed by Senate Bill 5353 that was introduced and sponsored by Senator Steve Conway & Senator Jeannie Darneille during the regular 2021 legislative session. The bill passed on the Senate floor (49-0) on 3/9/2021 and the State House floor (97-1) on 4/9/2021. These bill directs the Department of Commerce to create and maintain a grant program to foster community engagement through neighborhood organizing, law enforcement-community partnerships, youth mobilization, and business engagement. Safe Streets is one of the recipients in the state that demonstrate a commitment to community engagement in public safety.
Objectives in Senate Bill 5353
• Provide a framework to facilitate community-law enforcement partnerships that will help improve police-community relations and increase equitable practices in public safety. This can be a powerful alliance that can build mutual trust and respect and mitigate the polarization we now experience between police and community groups.
• Provide law enforcement and community member training on racial bias, racial profiling and anti-racist practices.
• Ensure design and implementation of this work will be locally driven.