THE BRIDGES PROGRAM
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, July 26, 2020
BETTER READINESS IN DRIVING: GUIDANCE FOR EQUALITY & SAFETY
Understanding that trust between the police and the community is foundational to public safety, BRIDGES was created to foster more peaceful encounters between police officers and community members during interactions such as traffic stops. While felony crimes and high-speed traffic pursuits are what tend to make the news, everyday interactions like misdemeanor traffic stops are where citizens most often come in contact with the police. Although these interactions can pose significant risk of escalation, officers and community members are not always trained to deal with the nuances of these confrontations. BRIDGES takes a multidisciplinary approach to this issue by providing multiple means of learning and collaboration: from curricula, to community workshops, to live events. BRIDGES asks: What skills can we teach officers to make them more confident in their ability to find a peaceful resolution? What knowledge can we equip citizens with to help foster mutual respect? When both officers and community members approach these interactions with empathy and background education, both groups can feel more certain that they will go home safely.
BRIDGES pays special attention to disproportionately impacted communities, and is focusing its initial rollout on creating safer and more educated interactions between officers and individuals with disabilities. LEWIS is working with established law enforcement training group Spectrum Training Solutions to build the law-enforcement facing side of the program, while LEWIS community partners such as Resources Invested for Development Education (RIDE) will be key collaborators on the community-facing side of BRIDGES that works directly with individuals with disabilities.
Additionally, LEWIS is working with The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab, founded by LEWIS Research Director Dr. Ben Graham, to ensure that BRIDGES is well-informed by meaningful research.
BRIDGES FEATURED BOOK: METTA: LET'S MEET THE POLICE
LEWIS is thrilled to work with NBA legend and activist Metta World Peace, featuring his children's book, Metta: Let's Meet the Police. Crucial to BRIDGES' mission of building better relationships between officers and community members is ensuring that children--especially children with disabilities and other disproportionately impacted groups--are taught how to approach potential interactions with officers with respect, understanding, agency, and knowledge of their rights.