P.E.A.C.E (Police Education and Community Engagement) :
A New Paradigm
How did this program come about?
In 2014, prior to the Michael Brown shooting in Missouri, law enforcement had experienced a gradual improvement in relationships with their communities, primarily due to community policing. The incident in Missouri gave reason to some communities to view police officers suspiciously once again. That suspicion expanded as additional controversial shootings and deaths occurred. As a result, police/community relations began to deteriorate. Many programs to combat these issues followed. Although some of these programs have made positive gains, CTCS believes there is still much more to be done.
This program was developed from the vision, insight, and knowledge of an experienced retired African American detective and his team, the course is designed to mindfully engage and educate law enforcement, the youth, and communities alike. Interpersonal mindfulness education is characterized by receiving awareness of oneself and others while maintaining a nonjudgmental, nonreactive presence. It wakes up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes. Creating connections between the Brain, Body, and Behavior. CTCS believes it is imperative that our current and future law enforcement officers are educated and developed from the inside out. It is vital that officers develop strong connections/understanding within themselves in order to effectively interact with the rest of society. Through greater self-awareness, police officers can discover their blind spots and develop greater situational awareness to be fully present, aware of where they are and what they are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around them. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses, it’s not something you have to conjure up, you just must learn how to access it.
P.E.A.C.E. program can be customized to meet the needs of your agency/organization, whether it be an 8-hour educational block for officers, or a two-day experience that encompasses both education and community engagement. The program can be hosted by local law enforcement agencies as well as Colleges and Universities.
Day 1: It is the goal of the classroom setting on day one to help officers examine their assumptions and perceptions of themselves and society, as well as to identify, discuss, suggest, and refine strategies that can be used to build and enhance community relations and public safety. Self-awareness is developed (1) through an honest dialog with oneself and an acceptance of one’s strengths and weaknesses, and (2) through nonjudgmental awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The format of our program is highly interactive, thought-provoking, and practical. Officers work
independently and in small groups to openly share ideas and collaborate on solutions. The course examines real-life influences such as life trauma, media, cultural stereotypes, implicit bias, and communication gaps, and identifies how each can affect an officer’s ability to police and interact effectively with the community they serve.
Numerous communities across the United States only see the police in neighborhoods in times of trouble and unrest, on routine patrol, and/or in response to calls for service. As a result, they begin to view law enforcement as just a “force.” They do not see the human side of the officer. The CTCS outreach events will enable the community, especially youth members, to see firsthand the human side of police officers, and participating police officers will encounter the human side of their communities.
Day 2 is split into two parts that are designed specifically to engage police officers and the youth/community. Incorporating positive interaction and education between law enforcement and the youth will help lay the foundation for a path of trust and respect.
Part 1: Officers participating on day one of the training will assist in instructing 3rd to 8th-grade students from the local community in a sports clinic/camp. College/local coaches, student-athletes, and professional players will provide actual skill instruction, when possible. Sports has become a world language. It is the common denominator capable of
breaking down walls and barriers. It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have a widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and development.
Part 2: There will be modified discussion/tabletop exercises for students from local universities and high schools and the officers who attended day one. This activity is designed to invite discussion and gain insight from participants in community/police relationships. In this way, everyone sees each other from a fresh perspective, thus helping to forge a new paradigm for a broken relationship. The exercise ends when all outcomes have been explored and presented.