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Making the Match: Law Enforcement, the Faith Community and the Value-Based Initiative

NCJ Number
Mary B. Gordon
Date Published
January 2004
46 pages
This guide profiles model programs developed under the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services' (COPS) Value-Based Initiative (VBI), which focuses on the development of community-led initiatives that explore and promote what a community values most; this includes the creation and strengthening of local projects that build trust between the police and faith-based communities.
VBI program goals are to strengthen partnerships between police and the community; further the community's role as a partner in crime-reduction efforts; identify and address social issues that diminish the quality of life in communities; and link those in need to services and resources that currently exist in the community. The emphasis in the VBI programs described in this guide is on the role of faith-based organizations in collaborations with police. The VBI program in Boston, MA, is presented as a model partnership between police and faith-based organizations. Having operated for more than a decade, it is an example of the long-term potential of a VBI partnership to substantially reduce crime and improve the quality of life in a community. Specific examples of VBI collaborations in Boston are provided. The description of the Boston model is followed by brief descriptions of VBI success stories in communities throughout the country. A section of the guide then explains how structures for VBI collaborations create a mechanism for community problem-solving. The process of establishing a VBI program is then explained by discussing the "readiness factors" of leadership, commitment to sharing power and decisionmaking, and commitment to forging a harmonious partnership. The tasks of planning and implementing a VBI collaboration are then outlined. Guidance is provided for solving problems that could undermine a collaboration between law enforcement officials and faith-based organizations. The guide concludes with a discussion of funding resources for a VBI project. An 11-item bibliography