Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Creating Partnerships with Community Police

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Local police departments have a special role to play in improving a community’s health, from reducing violence and preventing crime to supporting strong community partnerships between neighborhoods, residents and community agencies.

How can communities build effective partnerships with their local police departments? What are the challenges and how can these be addressed?

With a violent crime rate over 400 percent of the national average, public safety was a primary concern for residents in Flint, Michigan. The Greater Flint Health Coalition recently formed a new partnership with the City of Flint and its Blue Badge Community Policing Program to introduce the 2012 Health & Safety Mini-Grant Program—nine grants for a variety of community-based initiatives aimed creating safer environments.

Funded efforts range from the installation of street lights and surveillance systems to the development of vacant lots and the expansion of community gardens and neighborhood watch programs.

Some of these mini-grant projects have already demonstrated their impact. For example, the Genesee Township/North Beecher Neighborhood Watch Association completed the “North Beecher Flight from Blight” project to improve neighborhood safety through beautification activities. The association purchased trimmers, mowers, rakes, and shovels that were used to clean up and re-purpose several areas of the neighborhood, and the mini-grant will help ensure that this effort is sustained for years to come.

Hear more about this program next Tuesday, when we’ll host guest presenters Kirk Smith, President and CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition, and Tanya Meeks, City of Flint Police Officer, to talk about how the Flint Police Department is partnering with the community to improve health and safety for all.