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What You Will Find Here

Getting Started


This website contains materials in four broad categories:

  1. Getting Started: Recommendations on how to begin. (Spoiler alert: talk with your community and evaluate your data.)
  2. Opportunities: The ins and outs, dos and don’ts, of approximately 30 issue areas in which alternative response programs can achieve better outcomes than traditional policing alone. Some of these are “co-responder” models that pair alternative responders with police, and some are alternative-only approaches.
  3. Systemic Challenges and How to Address Them: Obstacles you might encounter, along with suggestions for how to tackle them.
  4. Reference Materials: Sources of additional information from the Policing Project and organizations doing important work, plus a glossary of perhaps unfamiliar terms.

In each case, we draw on useful real-world examples, extensive research, and the input of scholars, public safety professionals, government leaders, and community members. Experts and practitioners across the country are engaged in creative and necessary efforts to reimagine public safety, providing lessons and models that we build upon here. We are hardly alone in this effort, and so we also shout out the important work done by so many others in the field.

Local communities are making changes and looking for guidance now, in real time. As such, this site will serve as an active, ongoing repository for the real-world knowledge gained through our on-the-ground work in cities across the country. We will post new materials as they are developed (sign up here to make sure you get the latest).

The through-line of this entire exercise is our belief that it is time to rethink first response entirely. Although our current systems serve many needs (actually too many), they are quite haphazard, having evolved over time without much thought. By reconceiving public safety in broader terms, and by diversifying our response capacities to align with the things individuals and communities truly need, we can build a society that is both safer and more just.

We undertake this mission with a blend of confidence and humility. Confidence that we have approached these issues with research that is broad, deep, high quality, and almost certainly relevant to jurisdictions everywhere. Humility, because every community is different, much still remains unknown, and our understanding of public safety challenges is ever-evolving.

We invite you to join us on this hopeful and meaningful journey.