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Englewood, CO collaborates with 1,487 residents to enact community-led police reform

Englewood, CO, USA
The Atlas Community Team

Government Champion

Mayor's Office

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government

Project Status

Operational since 2020

At a Glance

The death of George Floyd brought national attention to the systemic racism and challenges people of color face each day, particularly in the face of law enforcement. Within weeks, Englewood created a Police Reform Task Force to continuously review procedures, policies, and lead the town's community engagement.

Problem Addressed

Although systemic racism has perpetrated corners of American society for centuries, video footage from George Floyd's death brought national attention to the discrimination people of color face everyday. This brought exorbitant attention to police departments across the nation, with citizens calling for police reform.

This pushed police departments across the nation to re-examine their procedures and programs.This meant re-thinking training, use-of-force, and accountability standards all in the scope of systemic racism.

Englewood was one of the first cities in Colorado to address police reform, taking action within weeks of George Floyd's death.

Englewood, CO used/is using a community-driven approach to police reform to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Mayor Linda Olson and Police Chief John Collins released a joint statement on the death of George Floyd, introducing the Mayor's Pledge to Reimagine Policing, designed to strategically address racism and undertake police reform. The pledge was developed by the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, which encourages communities to work with residents and re-examine police procedures through four steps.

As a first step, Englewood needed to review the police use-of-force policies and existing programs, pushing them to take a more critical look at what procedures could be improved upon.

The next step had the city analyze their use-of-force policies, discipline, and alternate policing, much of which was centered around resident feedback in support of the 8 Can't Wait Campaign. Listening to its community, Englewood police department banned chokeholds, altered their de-escalation practices, offered more alternative policing, and encouraged review communities and accountability with new body cameras.

For the third step, the city looked for other ways to educate themselves on their current practices, but also on best practices and innovative solutions to policing problems nationwide. They decided to do a presentation and conversation with a panel of experts on policing and police reform, who discussed trends and best practices in and out of Colorado. The panel included non-profit leaders, a professor on Public Affairs, and the city's district attorney. The city additionally requested a survey of all sworn officers to better understand officer perspectives and desires, which 60% of officers completed.

With an emphasis on community engagement, step four included a community conversation, offering citizens the opportunity to virtually join or watch live on YouTube. With 1487 participants, police and city council members presented information and communicated on innovative solutions and best practices. This resulted in community feedback, informing the police department on which issues were most important to their constituents.

The pledge resulted in the creation of the police reform task force, asked to provide the council with recommendations regarding training, hiring, and discipline, use-of-force policies and procedures, and alternate policing. The task force consisted of three local stakeholders in the nonprofit and healthcare arenas, four resident/business representatives, three city council members and five police/department representatives.

In collaboration with the task force, several departments are working to implement their recommendations.

Outcomes

  1. A complete review of existing programs, which encouraged the city to improve upon previous practices and reform outdated ones - including immediate implementation of body-worn cameras
  2. Implementation of 8 Can't Wait Protocols which emphasized more de-escalation and banned use of chokeholds and strangleholds
  3. A panelist event that brought together diverse experts, educating police officers and officials involved in policing
  4. An interactive community event with 1,487 residents that informed the police department, with 68% wanting more de-escalation training and 67% favoring collaborative community partnerships
  5. A strategic plan based on community engagement, police surveys, and expert opinions to combat systemic racism and police brutality

Lessons Learned

  1. 61% of participants at the community event favored community engagement in crime control and crime prevention, representing the importance of collaboration in reform.

Who Should Consider?

Cities looking to interact with their communities to better understand their wishes for police reform and enact meaningful change on police practices.

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