What Works Summit

What Works: (Re)Building Trust Between Communities and Police

In January 2013, the Center for Collaborative Change hosted a Summit to address Newark’s lack of trust between the police force and the community it serves. The Summit was the culmination of years of efforts at enabling key community stakeholders such as government agencies, private or corporate foundations, and our fellow nonprofits, to better target, design and align their efforts to address what the city has expressed as one of its most pressing needs.

Download a summary of the day’s presentations by expert practitioners and researchers from around the country.  More information about the day’s events, including the program, press release and photos, can be found below.


Report: Summary of Findings


The Summit has catalyzed subsequent efforts related to police-community relations. Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio explains:

“At the Summit, Greater Newark LISC presented a Philadelphia case study from its national Community Safety Initiative model that builds partnerships between law enforcement, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in order to increase safety in a targeted area. Subsequently, NPD partnered with LISC to bring the Community Safety Initiative to Newark and are forming three teams that will engage in analysis of neighborhood crime concerns and then embark on collaborative problem-solving to craft and then implement strategies to reduce crime, spur investment and build collective efficacy in Newark neighborhoods.

 Also, Newark Community Solutions (NCS) presented on its Community Court, which is the first in New Jersey, and other programs that work to connect low-level offenders with services that are already available, thus reducing recidivism. NCS is now working around the Market Street Police Substation to work with the high number of residents in need of social services with appropriate services. NCS’s Newark Youth Court is now working with Newark Police staff to revisit our existing stationhouse adjustment policy and is conduct- ing Youth Court information sessions for Police Department staff.”


You can read Director DeMaio’s full letter that details these efforts and more in the introduction of our white paper that summarizes the days events, it has been published and is available for download.

Press Release


Jan 28, 2013

Contact:  Laurel Dumont, Executive Director For immediate release (973) 685-6772


Newark Leaders, Police Departments, and Community Activists Gain Insight from David Kennedy, Connie Rice and Others, at Summit on Police Community Trust


Newark, NJ — January 28, 2013:  On January 23, The Center for Collaborative Change (the Center), in partnership with the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, the Newark Police Department (NPD) and LISC of Greater Newark, hosted the What Works Summit: (Re)Building Community Trust Between Community and Police at the Newark Club. The event was the culmination of a 3 year process starting with a 2009-10 Community Needs Assessment that identified a strong lack of trust between NPD and the community at large. The event convened national experts, law enforcement, community leaders and researchers from several NJ municipalities plus Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia and Boston to discuss the main question of the day “What works to rebuild trust between communities and the police who serve them?”

“We found that the poor relationship has diminished the quality of life for residents, depressed morale for police officers, and suppressed the community-police cooperation needed to solve and prevent crimes.” said Laurel Dumont, Founder and Executive Director of the Center, “We wanted to bring people together who came from both a grassroots perspective and a law enforcement perspective, and have them interact with people across the country who are implementing new models that work.”

NPD Director Samuel DeMaio, along with key members of his command staff, participated throughout the event.  During the final panel discussing next steps, DeMaio outlined short and long term plans to help build trust.  DeMaio, said, “It’s not about needing more resources, it’s about using what you have the right way.”

A representative from the Philadelphia Police Department discussed a model project from the LISC Community Safety Initiative. At the event LISC announced that it is expanding this program to Newark. Rhonda Lewis, executive director of Greater Newark LISC, stressed that the first steps in LISC’s model involve closely connecting law enforcement, policymakers, community leaders, local business owners, clergy, and residents in a collaborative effort.

One such strategy, highlighted by Dr. Rod Brunson of Rutgers School of Criminal Justice includes building a strong relationship with clergy. “The idea of trust is on a continuum, you have to start from some place but you also have to build and maintain that trust… The relationship with clergy is important because they are operating critically and independently,” Dr. Brunson said.

Civil rights lawyer Connie Rice spoke on her long career reforming the Los Angeles Police Department from both inside and outside the department. Originally a litigator who brought civil suits related to officer misconduct, her perspective broadened after interviewing 700 local law enforcement professionals for a departmental report.  Rice worked with the LAPD after the federal government installed a federal monitor, “A Consent decree will not change the hearts and minds of your cops, in fact it can make them harder, because they’ve been attacked by the federal court.” she continued  “We had to transform the mindset of LAPD… I couldn’t keep my clients safe without changing the police department, and in turn I had to make the cops feel safe enough, to enact change.”

Expert on federal monitors, Professor Josh Chanin, found that both leadership in police departments needed a desire to change, and external community-led factors need to drive change for sustainable trust to be built; “Be aware that politics is hugely important” he said. Chanin  told the story of Jordan Miles, whose violent beating in Pittsburg led to a Twitter based movement and eventual reforms in police culture including changes in data collection and training, “Citizens through social media in contact with their political representatives can make a change.”

“Empowering change is what our work is all about,” explained Dumont.  “We try to connect the institutions that make a difference in a citizens life to the citizens themselves. We’re happy the event could help Newark nonprofits and institutions learn from cities all across the country about the issues our residents find most pressing.”


The Summit was followed by a Cocktails for Change fundraiser with featuring Newark Mayor Cory Booker and US Attorney Paul J. Fishman. The event  featured live music from the band Julien Neals and Nick Pablo Thang, with special guest Ahsan.

Summit Speakers and Program Details

I. Problem Definition: Why Is Community-Police Trust Important, and To Whom?

  • Opening Remarks – Dr. Clement A. Price, Rutgers
  • Welcome – Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio
  • CCC Video Screening and Summary of Survey Results – Laurel Dumont, Center for Collaborative Change

II. Trust in the Success of Operation Ceasefire

  • Prof. David Kennedy, Center for Crime Prevention & Control, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

III. What Works? A Collaborative Model in Philadelphia

  • Moderator: Julia Ryan, Director of the Community Safety Initiative, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • Officer Ronald Fred, Philadelphia Police Department
  • Jennifer Rodriguez, Deputy Vice President of Programs and Sustainable Communities the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)

IV. Keynote Address – What Works to Rebuild Trust

  • Introduction by Dean Todd Clear, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice
  • Connie Rice, Esq., The Advancement Project

V. What Works? Solutions for Different Constituent Groups

  • Moderator: Dr. Rod Brunson, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice
  • Trust between police and new immigrants- Amy Gottlieb, American Friends Service Committee
  • The role of clergy in building trust between police and community – Dr. Rod Brunson, Rutgers School of Criminal Justice
  • Best practices for building trust with and policing the homeless and mentally ill – Jethro Antoine, Newark Community Solutions

VI.   What Works Under a Federal Monitor: Promoting Sustainable Reform & Community Trust

  • Introduction by Alex Shalom, Policy Counsel, ACLU of New Jersey
  • Josh Chanin, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at San Diego State University

VII.  Next Steps: A Commitment to Act

  • Moderator:  Laurel Dumont, The Center for Collaborative Change
  • Rhonda Lewis, Greater Newark LISC
  • Jethro Antoine, Newark Community Solutions
  • Director Samuel DeMaio, Newark Police Department



The Summit opened with a video produced by Amplify, Inc. introducing the importance of community-police trust for ensuring community safety and wellbeing.

Check out this clip from Brick City, Season 2 (episode 4) that features the Center’s work in community-police relations!


Also,  check out this clip from the amazing local talent — Ill Matic Force — who choreographed an original dance piece on Community-Police Relations for our first anniversary celebration in 2010:




Connie Rice and David Kennedy in conversation at the What Works Summit

Connie Rice and David Kennedy in conversation at the What Works Summit

Connie Rice Addresses the Audience at the What Works Summit.

Connie Rice Addresses the Audience at the What Works Summit.

NPD Director Samuel DeMaio on the What Next Pannel, concluding the What Works Summit Addressing Police Community Relations

NPD Director Samuel DeMaio on the What Next Pannel, concluding the What Works Summit Addressing Police Community Relations


Newark Mayor Cory Booker, CCC Founder Laurel Dumont and Bassist/ Newark Business Administrator Julien Neals at the post Summit fundraiser Cocktails for Change.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, CCC Founder Laurel Dumont and Bassist/ Newark Business Administrator Julien Neals at the post Summit fundraiser Cocktails for Change.

Julien Neals and Ahsan perform at the 2013 Cocktails for Change fundraiser

Julien Neals and 14 year old recording artist Ahsan perform at the 2013 Cocktails for Change fundraiser.

Summit Sponsors

Special Thanks to our event Partners and Sponsors: