Law Enforcement and the Communities they Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm

Law Enforcement and the Communities they Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm

An initiative designed to help police agencies and the communities they serve address the needs of those affected by acts of violence and other divisive events that may result in or exacerbate existing community-police tension or discord.

New Resource!

The IACP releases Pathways Toward Collective Healing, a new publication that highlights the IACP’s Law Enforcement and the Communities they Serve: Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm efforts between 2016-2020 in five communities across the United States. The publication outlines the initiative’s purpose and objectives, implementation practices, site profiles, overarching themes, and provides examples of the tools developed and implemented across the sites. 

Five diverse police departments, together with their community partners, explored ways to improve public safety, build trust and legitimacy, and provide victim assistance to those often reluctant or unable to seek assistance. They examined the connection between historical trauma and present-day experiences and the lasting effect of these tensions and trauma on both law enforcement and the community they serve.

They found that communities that have built trust and transparency, and agencies that have trained officers to provide a trauma-informed response and acknowledge and address officer needs, are better able to constructively respond to the trauma of a high-profile incident and prevent others. The Pathways Toward Collective Healing report provides a comprehensive look at lessons learned and an overview of the work accomplished through the Collective Healing initiative.


“You go out now and the segments of the community that in the past have felt neglected, have felt underserved, have even had felt abused by police, see a complete change. I’m telling you, doing canvasses, doing other things, they come out and talk to you more now. They’ll tell you the problems that they’re having, and in the past, they didn’t do that so much. So, having them open up has allowed us to solve more crimes, it’s allowed us to reduce the crime rate.” 
– Deputy Chief Dunnam, Baton Rouge Police Department, Louisiana

“They [The police] are very much present now, not just showing up to make an arrest. They’re making it their business, consciously, to show up at schools crossing guards. You know, you don’t see that often.” – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Community Members


In January 2018, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, selected five demonstrations sites from a competitive pool of law enforcement agencies across the United States to promote healing in the wake of harm, acknowledging the need and desire of police and communities to come together to address the impact of trauma on those served as well as the workforce providing services. 

Demonstration sites included:

  • Baton Rouge Police Department
  • Houston Police Department
  • Minneapolis Police Department
  • Oakland Police Department
  • Rapid City Police Department



For more information or current opportunities, please contact:

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2016-MU-GX-K026 awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues

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