Jurisdiction Highlight: Tacoma, WA
Project PEACE: City of Tacoma Police Department Partnering for Equity and Community Engagement
Deep public engagement is being effectively used to inform institutional and structural changes is in the City of Tacoma’s recently launched police and community listening sessions, known as Project PEACE (Partnering for Equity and Community Engagement).
In line with Tacoma’s equity framework, Project PEACE is a series of 6 deep listening sessions between Tacoma City Police, the city manager, and the community. The engagement series arose following the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson.
At that time, one of Tacoma’s newspapers engaged local leaders in a conversation about police relations. The conversation revealed the need for better understanding and trust between community members and the police department.
Most importantly, these sessions are tied into the Tacoma Police Department’s planning efforts for the upcoming year. The potential for actual structural change to come from the engagement is thus strong.
The feedback and insights generated from the listening sessions can help determine, for example, what kinds of training and policies the Tacoma Police Department implements in 2016. The police chiefs were part of the design process and somewhere between 15 and 20 police officers attended each listening session to date.
Project PEACE is one example of how meaningful community engagement efforts can be done to make structural and institutional change.