Commentary

03/09/2015  by John Guenther

VIDEO: CA Fwd webinar Engaging the Community in Public Safety Realignment

Recently, California Forward, as a partner in successfully implementing the state's public safety realignment, presented a webinar "Engaging the Community in Public Safety Realignment" which reviews how counties can effectively engage the public with their realignment efforts in order to improve the community-based approach to public safety. The video above contains a recording of the webinar.

"Crimes happen in communities and they happen to communities," said Scott MacDonald, a retired chief probation officer of Santa Cruz County and currently a consultant with CA Fwd on the Justice System Change Initiative. "So, communities have a big stake in the process to begin with and, second, ideally the solutions to crime have to be co-owned, not just formal system folks but but also by the community and so engaging the community allows you to bring them on as a partner."

The major goal of CA Fwd's effort is that counties will apply practices and decision-making models learned under realignment to other county responsibilities and create a culture where data-driven decision-making ensures public dollars are spent more effectively with better outcomes.

The above webinar reviews different approaches to community engagment and highlights the results of a brief study of public safety officials’ perspectives on engaging the community in their public safety efforts, particularly within the context of the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act.

"The town hall meeting approaches is certainly one to to consider this especially allows you to engage with traditionally underserved communities and organizations or community sectors that don't normally take part in your process," said Adam Sutkus, associate director at the Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento and co-author of the brief on community engagement. "But this would allow you to engage with those those particular groups and it allows also a wider sector to come together to be able to help with engagement."

The webinar leaders dive into the following topics:

• what community engagement encompasses and its value to both counties and communities;
• common themes and learnings from interviews with county criminal justice leaders and representatives from community organizations in counties;
• tools for successful engagement;
• suggestions for successfully engaging communities; and
• resources that may be helpful to counties.

The program will be lead by the authors of the Community Engagement Brief:
• Malka Kopell, Principal, Malka R. Kopell Consulting and Associate, Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento
• Adam Sutkus, Associate Director, Center for Collaborative Policy, California State University, Sacramento

Two former Chief Probation Officers who will discuss their experience with community engagement and suggestions for effective engagement:
• Linda Penner, Retired Chief Probation Officers Fresno County and currently Chair of the Board of State and Community Corrections
• Scott MacDonald, Retired Chief Probation Officer Santa Cruz County and currently a consultant with CA Fwd on the Justice System Change Initiative

Categories: Community Services, Community Corrections, Justice System Change Initiative, Realignment

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