The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships (SPCP) program, which was piloted in Erie, PA and Topeka, KS, is designed to strengthen trust and develop partnerships between law enforcement professionals and the diverse communities they serve.

On April 21, 2018 CRS facilitated a SPCP program in Erie, PA. The SPCP program began with introductions of the facilitators and a “welcome” by the law enforcement leadership and community leaders. Approximately 79 diverse community leaders from various sectors in the community were grouped in 7 homogeneous working groups.

The seven homogeneous groups consisted of the following communities: Faith/Clergy, Youth, New Americans, Law Enforcement, Social Services, Business/Community and Civil Rights. Each group was then tasked to identify strengths of the community, as well issues or areas of concern.

After the issue(s) identification phase of the process, Community Relations Service and the volunteer facilitators facilitated an issues prioritization process. Participants were asked to vote on the issues most important to them. Each participant was given three stickers (dots) to place their votes.  Following the voting process, which illustrated what issues received the most votes, i.e. priority issues, the solutions development/action plan phase of the process was facilitated.  Seven heterogeneous groups were then randomly selected so that there was at least one homogenous group representative in each of the seven heterogeneous groups to work on developing solutions and action plans.

Working with facilitators, community leaders used a five-step problem solving process to develop solutions and action plans. At the end of the process, SPCP Council members were identified and introduced to the larger group. The council will meet in scheduled session(s) with law enforcement officials to follow-up on the SPCP process and may implement solutions/action plans developed during the process. The council may work on other problem areas should they arise.


Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships Council is the driving force behind building trust between our community and police.


Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships Council strives to make Erie safer through the creation of a strong partnership between the community and police by committing ourselves to open and honest communication, understanding, and mutual respect.


• Following the Law and the Constitution

• Open Lines of Communication between Community & Police

• Respect For and From Law Enforcement

• Transparency & Accountability


• Build Trust with our Community and Police

• Facilitate Open & Honest Communications

• Increase Public Safety

• Reduce Crime

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