Board Awards Grants to Strengthen Law Enforcement-Community Relations

SACRAMENTO (June 9, 2016) – The Board of State and Community Corrections today awarded nearly $6 million in grants intended to strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. The 10 grants will go to departments as large as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and as small as the rural Salinas Valley communities of Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City, which filed a joint application for funding. The BSCC received 46 applications requesting more than $24 million in funding. The program was established by the Budget Act of 2015, which allocated funding for a grant that would provide training for front-line peace officers on issues such as implicit bias, best practices, restorative justice programs and problem-oriented policing initiatives like Operation Ceasefire. An Executive Steering Committee appointed by the Board designed the Request for Proposals to incorporate concepts from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The ESC was co-chaired by Board Member David Bejarano, chief of the Chula Vista Police Department, and BJ Davis, PhD, co-executive director of the nonprofit Strategies for Change. Some of the projects that will be funded include a joint program of the Salinas Police Department and the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department to increase community trust through the “Why’d You Stop Me” curriculum; the Bakersfield Police Department effort to reduce gang violence through Operation Ceasefire and implicit bias training; and the Stockton Police Department’s plan to reduce shootings and recidivism among young black men at the highest risk of violence through a “leadership council” comprised of the men, their families and community members most affected by violence. (Summaries of the successful proposals are at the end of this document. A rank-ordered list of all 46 proposals is available here.)

  • In other business, the Board approved beginning the public comment process on proposed revisions to Adult Titles 15 and 24 of the California Code of Regulations, which set minimum standards for local adult detention facilities. Highlights include new regulations for suicide prevention, and updates to nutritional guidelines that reduce sugar and sodium intake. The Board voted to postpone revisions to the Title 15 section on visiting while the Legislature considers Senate Bill 1157 (Mitchell), which would prescribe requirements for visitation. The Board also requested that no final revisions to regulations be approved until the BSCC receives an analysis of Prison Rape Elimination Act compliance issues. The Board’s action authorizes staff to begin the Administrative Procedures Act process that will launch a 45-day public comment period. The proposed changes are available here (, along with the Office of Administrative Law’s Guide to Public Participation.

The BSCC is a multi-faceted organization that provides assistance to the counties on community corrections issues. The agency annually administers and awards millions of dollars in grants designed to reduce recidivism, sets standards for the training of local corrections officers and the operations of local corrections facilities, and administers the current lease-revenue bond process for local jail facility improvements. ### Strengthening Law Enforcement and Community Relations Grant Project Descriptions

  1. Salinas Police Department and Monterey County Sheriff’s Department – will work with the community to improve, strengthen and reestablish positive meaningful relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Program elements will focus on education through the “Why’d You Stop Me” curriculum, increasing community trust, satisfaction, and cooperation with law enforcement; increasing positive two-way interactions and engagement between the community and police; and education and training for law enforcement on reducing acts of violence between the public and police.
  2. Vallejo Police Department – seeks to expand and institutionalize community policing efforts by working with residents and stakeholders to build trust and strengthen relationships. Program elements will focus on year-round youth engagement, creating and institutionalizing diverse collaboration opportunities and providing officer training and wellness.
  3. Bakersfield Police Department – will strengthen police-community relationships by engaging a diverse group of community partners. Program elements will focus on reducing gang violence through Operation Ceasefire, training together in procedural justice and implicit bias and establishing community expectations of participation and involvement in law enforcement. Police and the community will work alongside one another in the Cops, Clergy, and Community (3C) program as they train in and present an alternate policing option (Operation Ceasefire); educate both police and community members about the mutual benefits of procedural justice, police legitimacy, and community expectations; engage in behavioral health training to benefit those in law enforcement and the community experiencing mental health issues; and support Operation Ceasefire by developing capacity for community organizations to provide peer mentoring, parenting skills, and mental health training in an area suffering from long-term low opportunity
  4. Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City Police Departments – will work jointly to strengthen law enforcement and community relations. Program elements will support a regional approach in rural California that will mold a culture of trust and inclusion between law enforcement agents and community members, reduce crime, increase law enforcement’s understanding of the cultural values of the communities they serve, train law enforcement officers in the area of mental health and implementation of cultural competency and Spanish language education for law enforcement officers.
  5. Richmond Police Department – aims to create safer neighborhoods by strengthening trusting relationships between law enforcement and the community. Program elements will increase positive police practices through improved police policies, training and civilian oversight, and increasing community involvement through expansion of department activities and expansion of Richmond Ceasefire. Richmond Police Department has been trained in the Scotland Model, which stresses that any use of force be proportionate, legal, and necessary. Officers will disengage mentally ill subjects and will seek to de-escalate situations that might lead to violence. The department will present scenario-based training with wide range of options and outcomes to assist officers in understanding situations they may face in the field.
  6. Stockton Police Department – proposes to strengthen its relationship with the community and reduce shootings and recidivism among young men at highest risk of violence. Program elements will focus on three interlocking evidence-based initiatives that address practice and policy, training and community engagement. One key component is developing an especially strong community engagement initiative, essentially a “leadership council,” that will include young men, their families and other community members most affected by violence. This council will work in partnership with the police department on the development of departmental strategies as they relate to communities that experience disproportionately high levels of violence and crime; practices and approaches for implementing the Ceasefire strategy; departmental training in procedural justice, police legitimacy and implicit bias; and community dialogue regarding trust and reconciliation.
  7. Alameda County Sheriff’s Office – is applying for funding to support and expand Ashland-Cherryland Rising, an existing multi-sector initiative aimed at fostering greater vitality and safety in the urban unincorporated neighborhoods of Ashland and Cherryland. Program elements will focus on neighborhood improvement and civic engagement projects and creating a center of community and relationship based policing. This grant will expand on our work by providing seed funding and staff support for neighborhood groups to become anchors of community support and leadership, engaging with law enforcement as partners to co-create solutions to local issues, building leadership and civic engagement, and increasing public safety and a sense of community pride and belonging. Significantly, the grant will provide jobs and volunteer opportunities for local youth and adults that contribute to the vitality of the neighborhood, provide valuable training and life skills, and create positive opportunities for residents to interact with law enforcement.
  8. Monrovia Police Department – Achieving Community Trust (ACT) is a three-part strategy to build trust and relationships between law enforcement and the community. Program elements will focus on open dialogue with community members at ACT meetings, teaching all our youth how to interact safely with law enforcement and by training officers to make better decisions on the use of force when in contact with mentally ill individuals. Grant funds will allow the creation of an interactive video scenario training tool to assess officers’ ability to use the skills and tactics taught in training. This training tool will be used for all officers in Los Angeles County and made available to all law enforcement in the state.
  9. Long Beach Police Department – aims to further advance our efforts to foster open communication between law enforcement and the communities served. Program elements will focus on community police academy programs, community and youth-police dialogues and the implementation of a procedural justice and implicit bias training course. Long Beach Police Department will engage in positive non-enforcement activities with a particular emphasis on residents living in communities with high rates of police contact. These dialogues will be facilitated and coordinated by community partner, the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) particularly in the realm of increasing cultural competency.
  10. Contra Costa County Sheriff Office – and the Housing Authority of Contra Costa County will develop a relationship based policing model through the presence and building of relationships between the Office of the Sheriff and the residents and community partners. Program elements will focus on issues of poverty, education, at-risk youth, health, and public safety. The program is designed with three strategic elements. First, reorient operations with less reliance on the patrol car and more emphasis on face-to-face interactions. Second, derive information from proactive community outreach efforts and collaboration with community partners to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the residents. Finally, authenticate information and conduct risk assessment related to identified issues and trends and determine appropriate responses, resource allocation, intervention strategies, preventative tactics, maintenance of relationships, and measureable outcomes. ###