Improving trust between communities and police

Solutions Journalism

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

Tensions between the police and the Black community in America are long-standing and contentious. With an unfortunate number of examples to choose from, patterns point to implicit bias as the driver behind many of the racially-charged incidents. Some of this can be blamed on the training that police go through, which falls short on  addressing systemic racism and leads to discrimination.

The theme of  this collection is how small towns and cities tackle discrimination through face-to-face conversations over a long period of time and with genuine goodwill. The first story, written by Katherine Webb-Hehn (@KAWebb_) and set in Birmingham, Alabama, looks at how "peacemakers" are deployed to have one-on-one conversations with every single resident in order to provide support and keep a line of dialogue open. In Columbia Heights, Minnesota, Solutions Journalism Network Story Specialist Mark Obbie (@MarkObbie) writes about community-oriented policing and regular, friendly interactions with police that have led to a significant drop in crime. In Stockton, California, Michael Friedrich (@mfriedrichnyc) writes about how an apology-driven approach has opened up doors in unexpected ways in terms of police-community relations. Lastly, though not quite a small town, John Hockenberry (@JHockenberry) writes about Cincinnati, Ohio's police having round-table discussions with the community that have resulted in a fruitful working relationship between the two.