Beyond the Uniform

Students and law enforcement officers seek solutions to creating more positive interactions within our community through service.

Photo of Shasta Looper
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Lately in our community the tensions between law enforcement and minority groups have been strained.  More than ever, there is a need to reestablish a positive relationship between police and our communities.  While change will not happen over night, steps in the right direction can be taken.  This project would create opportunities for students and other community members to interact with law enforcement officers in situations that did not begin as a conflict.   It will also provide an opportunity for law enforcement to build strong relationships based on positive behaviors and interactions with students helping to recreate their image for our students.  To begin, we would create opportunities for our students to interact with law enforcement officers in a classroom setting.  During this time, students, law enforcement officers, and other community members will participate in team building challenges that require clear communication and trust.  As relationships are built with students, the students and officers would replicate similar gatherings in local communities that would bring community members together.  During these activities, officers would not be "on duty" and out of uniform.  The hope would grow to having the officers, students, and others begin to serve the community so that in times of crisis, the relationships that have been built among the groups will impact the reactions.    This would be a model to students and other members of the community that relationships are the most effective way to enact change.  


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Photo of Gwen Rino

I love the clarity of this idea -- humanizing one another by having authentic experiences OUTSIDE of "role." I think I'm especially struck today because I'm right in the middle of reading The New Jim Crow.

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