Policing Project

Cultural Event Documentation

Policing Project - NYU School of Law

“Modeled on the Neighborhood Policing Structure in New York City, NPI is designed to create a true community policing structure that promotes accountability, problem-solving, and increased positive contact between police officers and neighborhood residents.”

The Policing Project at New York University School of Law is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening policing by bringing the ordinary processes of democratic accountability to bear. In particular, the Policing Project works to ensure that the community’s voice and sound decision making techniques, are part of policing.

Their Community Engagement Initiative, carried out in partnership with Strategic Policy Partnership, the Chicago Police Department, and the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), aims to give community members a meaningful voice in how their neighborhoods are policed. They have worked to set the groundwork for this initiative, including gathering data on each of the CPD’s twenty-two districts, and are working with the CPD and GAPA to develop criteria for picking districts.

This is the first attempt at implementing a neighborhood policing model at a district-wide level. This, combined with a uniquely robust community engagement plan, will set this project (and the pilot districts) apart from any of the policing reform work being done in Chicago.

Although this project does not primarily focus on the arts, we were excited to be invited to be a part of it. Criminal justice reform is a primary issue for us and we have focused our attention towards working more closely with organizations that are actively creating new methods and ideas on how to bring equity and systematic change to our justice system.

We were requested to document the planning, launch, and process of this new initiative with the Chicago Police Department. The Policing Project’s needs were to have images captured in order to provide visual content to be utilized in the development of a website and to communicate with the participating communities, stakeholders, and the city of Chicago about the work and efforts that are ongoing and being taken to positively impact the relationship between law enforcement in Chicago and the neighborhoods that they were sworn to protect.

The process began with determining the needs and goals of the Policing Project’s Senior Program Manager located in Chicago. We worked collaboratively to create a project plan to implement and we agreed upon the art direction of the photography for the images. We had to take into consideration the overall climate of Chicago police and community relations given the history of mistrust and injustices that have occurred in the past. It was important that we depicted positive engagement and the humanity of both the CPD and the participating community members.

We learned that there is a real need for community input on how police engage with the people living in a district and there needs to be positive relationships with the officers patrolling the streets in order to begin to build trust and safe environment.

Working with the Policing Project has been rewarding and successful because of effective communication outlined with clear expectations. Much of the success can be contributed to having detailed steps and procedures for workflow, scheduling, creating shot lists, post production, and deliverables.