Insights and Outcomes from the Professionalizing Law Enforcement Community Engagement Conference

Over 800 law enforcement officers, allied professionals, and community leaders convened in Atlanta in May for the Professionalizing Law Enforcement Community Engagement (PLECET) conference. Hosted by MovementForward, Inc.the conference provided an opportunity for law enforcement officers assigned to community engagement and outreach roles to learn, network, and enhance their capacity to engage communities. Community engagement officers play a critical role in building relationships and trust in the communities they serve. While these relationships are critical to reducing crime and enabling collaboration to build safe and healthy communities, there is currently no comprehensive recruit or in-service training to build the unique skillset needed to excel in these roles. For community engagement to be successful, departments must create an engagement strategy that is authentic, consistent, proactive, and sustainable.

PLECT attendees participated in panels, caucuses, and plenaries on topics ranging from community engagement 101 to technology tools that support community collaboration. Current law enforcement officers and allied professionals shared their experiences and best practices in engaging the community. Researchers provided a theoretical basis for community engagement and highlighted interventions and programs with emerging evidence of effectiveness. Each day of the conference also included plenaries highlighting existing programs from across the country that are successfully building strong relationships between community members and law enforcement.

The conference concluded with the TORCH award ceremony to recognize influential public figures who carry forward the torch of servant leadership and the spirit of service and nonviolent societal change that Dr. Matin Luther King, Jr. and his cohorts embodied. Ms. Xernona Clayton, civil rights icon, presented the inaugural awards to Commissioner Danielle Outlaw from the Philadelphia Police Department and Commissioner Keechant Sewell from the New York Police Department for their community contributions.

A valuable element of the conference was the opportunity to network and build relationships with fellow law enforcement officers assigned to similar roles. Building on the momentum from the conference, MovementForward, Inc. is launching the Law Enforcement Community Engagement Network (LECEN) of law enforcement professionals to provide ongoing training, peer support, access to critical information, and networking. The first LECEN webinar will be hosted on June 6, and will share key learnings from the PLECET conference as well as next steps and additional offerings in the field of community engagement. Register here

If you would like training or technical assistance to support your community engagement programs, please contact BJA NTTAC today!



Points of view or opinions on BJA NTTAC’s TTA blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, BJA, or BJA NTTAC.