Courts & Crime

After Ferguson, Justice Department reaches out to local communities

Following up on the Ferguson debacle, Justice Department officials Thursday announced a new program to “build trust” between law enforcement and local communities.

With the help of a three-year, $4.75 million federal grant, a consortium of law enforcement experts will focus efforts on five pilot cities. The program will include “training to law enforcement and communities on bias reduction and procedural fairness” as well as other measures, according to the department.

“The events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot allow tensions, which are present in so many neighborhoods across America, to go unresolved,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

The newly named National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice will also “establish a clearinghouse where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders,” officials say.

The consortium will include experts from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA and the Urban Institute.