A citizen-led initiative to re-imagine policing and public safety has begun as a part of the Re-Imagining America initiative that was launched last month. The present policing model places unrealistic expectations upon police officers and magnifies our community’s inability to address social ills that are often outside the context of policing. Piecemeal solutions, tweaking here and there, promises of better training, and recruiting for more diversity will not accurately address the inequitable structure and culture that prohibits effective relationships between police and community.
The recent protests and acts of civil disobedience are reminders of a need for the community to approach public safety differently. We believe there is a better way to serve and protect our communities. The beginning of that process is to seek input from community members, as we work together to create a framework that equitably addresses the personal and public safety needs of the citizens of the Dayton region.
Re-Imagining Policing / Re-Imagining Public Safety is being led by local subject matter experts, citizens and Social Justice advocates, It is the beginning of what will become a community conversation and co-creation process. Phase 1 of the process begins with the release of a DRAFT Framework and Policing Survey, both of which can be found here. Over the next month, volunteers will begin accepting and curating community input and reaching out to those interested in participating in Phase 2. Phase 2, a series of town hall style collaborative conversations based upon the input of the policing survey results, will formulate recommendations, that will be made public and shared with police departments within the Metropolitan Statistical Areas of; Montgomery, Greene, Miami and Preble counties.
“This Re-Imagining Policing project is starting with a clean sheet of paper. It offers a tremendous opportunity for citizens to participate in the process of creating a Department of Well-Being and Public Safety. The expectation is to create an organization that reflects a true partnership between the community and the government, of, by and for the people. Historically, policing, its policies, procedures, and discipline existed without much community input, we aim to change that. The creation of the Department of Well-Being and Public Safety is not about defunding the police but rather creating an organization that meets the needs of the entire community,” stated Peter Benkendorf, founder of The Collaboratory and one of the co-creators of the Re-Imagining America initiatives.
Re-Imagining America: Dayton, Ohio was borne out of the September 2018 Frontline/ProPublica documentary “Left Behind America”. The documentary featured Dayton as a manifest example of what has happened to too many great American cities and the people who live there as a result of our current socio-economic model… they have been behind or in many cases left out. Housed at The Collaboratory, Dayton’s independent, non-profit civic innovation lab, Re-Imagining America seeks to build a more equitable and thriving community by focusing on eight Action Areas: Regional Economy/Employment, Education, Environment, Health and Wellness, Housing, Justice, Media and Transportation.