“Building Partnerships Between Cops and Communities”
One Congregation One Precinct (1C1P), an initiative of MovementForward, Inc., has several interwoven objectives that incorporate the six pillars outlined by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The first objective is to improve public safety through collaboration and information sharing to prevent, combat and solve crimes by utilizing the varied resources of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other faith based organizations. Second, 1C1P aims to increase community engagement with patrol-level law enforcement professionals, via congregations, resulting in decreased bias and increased familiarity, respect and trust. Finally, 1C1P is designed to proactively create a direct link between law enforcement executives and community leaders in an effort to avert violent and divisive public responses to police-involved incidents while also giving voice to growing public concerns relative to policing. In the wake of numerous police-involved controversies, law enforcement executives, community organizers, civic activists and faith leaders are mutually invested in deterring destructive exchanges between cops and citizens. These sectors are therefore joining forces to launch an unprecedented program. This innovative effort is purposed to stem mounting tensions between citizens and law enforcement officers by building partnerships and mutual understandings, as well as establishing a structured framework for the public to assist law enforcement efforts.
In light of contentious and potentially dangerous friction currently felt between many civilians and law enforcement professionals, leaders in every relevant sector must work to improve and strengthen relationships between officers and citizens BEFORE an explosive scenario occurs. Local leaders must not wait for a riotous scenario to explode as was the case in Charlotte, NC; Baton Rouge, LA; Ferguson, MO; Baltimore, MD and elsewhere before they begin to prepare a response. Law enforcement officials, civil rights advocates, civic activists and faith leaders must work cooperatively around common public safety goals. Failure to take this kind of innovative approach to community policing could have dire consequences for officers and citizens alike.
Given its’ rich history of bringing people together to address problems around race and justice, Atlanta has a unique opportunity to set a positive example for the nation. 1C1P is therefore being piloted in the metro area with great potential for rapid duplication and expansion nationally.
History and Background:
The One Congregation One Precinct initiative was originally conceptualized in 2009 following a rash of high-profile violent crimes in metro Atlanta as “One Church One Precinct”, a short-term project aimed at engaging faith leaders in solving those specific crimes. The tragic and horrifying crisis of violence witnessed almost daily in Atlanta had nearly reached epidemic proportions and could not be adequately addressed by law enforcement alone. Faith community leaders saw a need to coalesce and act in unison with police. On Friday, September 4, 2009, every police chief from the county departments immediately bordering the city of Atlanta gathered at Atlanta Police headquarters for an emergency meeting with prominent clergy from throughout the metropolitan area in response to the murder of a Spelman College student and numerous other widely publicized crimes that preceded.
Six years later, on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in downtown Atlanta, hundreds of law enforcement officers and citizens of every age, race and ideology again stood in solidarity to promote and foster a protracting culture of concern, cooperation and reciprocal respect. A Town Hall meeting was held in the historic Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College. In addition to law enforcement and community leaders, the televised discussion featured families of both fallen officers and citizens killed by officers in an effort to create an atmosphere of peace, unity and reconciliation. The rebirth, rebranding and permanent repurposing of 1C1P is the programmatic continuation of that pivotal dialogue. The initiative was formally launched on July 7th at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia, as well as, sheriffs’ offices and police departments throughout Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties in Georgia are targeted as initial partners. More than 90% of the police departments in the Metro Atlanta Region have signed-on to participate in 1C1P. The following organizations joined with MovementForward, Inc. to host the aforementioned town hall meeting from which the 1C1P program emerged and are expected to also serve as partners in various 1C1P activities: – Fraternal Order of Police – State Lodge of Georgia – Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police – Georgia Sheriffs’ Association – IBPO – International Brotherhood of Police Officers – National Office – LULAC – League of United Latin American Citizens – Atlanta Chapter – NAACP – Atlanta, Cobb, DeKalb and Henry County branches – National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives – Radio One of Atlanta (Praise 102.5, Hot 107.9, Majic 107.5, and Boom 97.5/102.9) – Urban League of Greater Atlanta – WVEE V-103 and WAOK AM Radio (Atlanta Division of CBS Radio)
Regional and National Expansion:
The One Congregation One Precinct initiative debuted in metro Atlanta in July 2016. In January 2017, the program will begin expanding into three (3) additional southern metropolises. Subsequently, 1C1P is expected to expand to eight (8) additional cities around the country beginning in September 2017.
1C1P believes violent crime as well as the terse exchanges between cops and citizens manifested daily cannot be addressed by law enforcement officers alone – the Faith Community has a moral obligation and sacred responsibility to act collectively to address our dual cultures of violence and distrust. We believe our efforts will result in an overall increase in public safety and in innovative, structured collaboration between communities and police. We believe all congregations – regardless of size, affiliation, denomination, racial or social composition, or geography – have a role to play in building mutual respect, combating bias and making society safer overall.
Why Congregations? Faith based institutions are places of hope, consciousness, refuge, support, comfort, mass gathering and collective social action, are an untapped resource and provide law enforcement efforts ideal entry into communities and neighborhoods.
How Will It Work??? 1C1P will unite the various assets of faith-based organizations with those of law enforcement agencies to improve public safety by “Creating a Culture of Consciousness, Concern and Cooperation.” Each police and/or sheriff department beat or precinct and each congregation will be partnered, based upon exact location, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Google Maps, COMPuter STATistics (CompStat) and other technological tools.
The central mission of 1C1P is to join the resources of local faith-based organizations with those of law enforcement entities to improve public safety and community relations. Participating congregations will ‘adopt’ police and sheriff departments, at the beat or precinct level (depending on size), to create specialized and targeted crime fighting, crime prevention and crime solving activities based on the specific needs and demographics of each particular area. While respecting the need for uniqueness in each individual partnership, the 1C1P staff and coordinating body will provide each participating institution with a basic structure, common objectives and a set of best practices.