Police2Peace aims to improve relations between Green Bay police and community

The Green Bay Police Department is working with Police2Peace to improve its relationship with the community.

But she’s put that life in the rearview mirror. Today, Broderick is looking to disrupt a distinct part of society: policing.

“One day, honestly, I realized putting the word ‘peace’ and ‘peace officer’ on police vehicles and introducing it to communities was a disruptive technology,” she said. “It’s a very famous thing in high technology, where you disrupt how society works. And suddenly it works differently because you’ve introduced a new technology.”

Broderick has put those ideas into the organization Police2Peace, which she founded in 2018, serving as its executive director.

“We’re actually a contractor for the U.S. Department of Justice,” she said, “providing training and technical assistance. And working with agencies all over the country to really change the way that they view themselves and change how communities view them. And it’s through this lens, this framework, of peace officer.”

That idea is currently underway at the Green Bay Police Department, where Chief Chris Davis invited Police2Peace to work with his division.

“I’m not doing this because I think the Green Bay Police Department is broken, and it’s not legitimate and it’s disconnected from the community,” said Davis.

“On the contrary, we’re doing this because I think we’re ready for it. And I wouldn’t say that in every police department in the country. 

“But I think this is an opportunity for us to make some progress on what we want to do here, which is we want to set the example for the rest of the country on how to get policing done right. So that it’s effective. So you’re safe in your community and you don’t have to worry about violent crime, or a crime. But we also do it in the right way. And I think we can do it here.”

A 32-question voluntary survey is currently open to the public. In unison, an internal 82-question survey is being conducted.

“Then we figure out how aligned we are in terms of how we see ourselves versus how the community sees us, or what they expect,” said Davis. “If our mission, vision, values are aligned with what the community expects. Because those two things have to match pretty well in order for us to be effective.”

This project was made possible by a year-long grant from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office, Broderick said.

After the results are compiled, a representative from Police2Peace will come to Green Bay to facilitate a discussion in terms of the GBPD’s mission statement, vision, values and how it communicates with the public as to who they are and what they’re here to do. That will be followed by training.

“Because I really believe one of the problems that we have in American law enforcement … it’s the term law enforcement,” Davis said. “It illustrates part of the problem that we have. We see ourselves as law enforcement. A lot of times, our communities don’t see us in those same terms.”

“What they want, and what I hear from communities all the time, is not necessarily always law enforcement or crime suppression or the war on crime or those kinds of things. But a community resource that helps and takes a leadership role in making the community safe. What I always heard — when I started in this job in Arizona in the ’90s — is that you are there to fight the war on drugs. The war on crime. Well, no. We’re not an army and we’re not fighting a war.”

Broderick understands changing minds is not easy, particularly policing in its current state.

To that end, Police2Peace will conduct follow-up surveys with the public and police and provide tools so the GBPD can continue to survey itself yearly to measure its progress over time.

“Public safety can be horribly difficult for both sides,” Broderick said. “And in my opinion, the police are doing the best they can with the tools they have. We’re just providing a little extra training to both them and the community. So they can really appreciate the community’s point of view. And so that the community can return to trusting them. 

“This is the lowest point in American history, I believe, for trust and confidence in the police. It’s really a very challenging time.”

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Police2Peace is an organization addressing the issue for our time: reimagining the relationship that communities have with the police. A national, nonpartisan nonprofit bringing a new approach to community-led policing to cities around the country, Police2Peace is using the framework of police officers as Peace Officers to redefine, reimagine and advance policing nationally.

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