Six pilot sites will test strategies for strengthening bonds between citizens and police under a U.S. Justice Department program, Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday. NPR reported the cities as Birmingham, Al.; Stockton, Ca.; Gary, In.; Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and Fort Worth, Tx. The programs are intended to improve racial reconciliation, reduce implicit bias in policing, and affirm the idea of procedural justice: that the way law enforcement officers treat people in everyday interactions is as important as the outcome of those interactions, such as arrests and convictions.
“There’s research that suggests that when people feel like they were treated respectfully by the police, that goes a long way towards community trust, regardless of the outcome,” said Nancy LaVigne of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, which will conduct research as part of the federal grant. Holder, who is likely to retire after six years in office as early as next week, when the Senate votes on nominee Loretta Lynch, said his efforts on policing in no way were intended to cast all law enforcement officers in a negative light.