Police Accountability and Alternatives

Everyone deserves a fair chance to live in a healthy, prosperous, and safe neighborhood. Yet too many police officers—tasked with protecting every community—treat neighborhoods populated by people of color as enemy territory and regard people of color in predominantly White neighborhoods as unwanted intruders. Youth of color who should be growing up in supportive environments are too often presumed to be criminals and subjected to violent police tactics that diminish public safety. For generations, communities of color have sought an end to the racial profiling, harassment, and violence perpetrated by law enforcement.

To support these communities, address these barriers, and advance just and equitable community safety across the country, PolicyLink partners with community leaders, activists, advocacy and legal organizations, elected officials, and others to design and implement innovative approaches to police accountability and support and scale community-led alternatives to current policing methods.

Through its Police Accountability and Alternatives effort, PolicyLink works to reduce the harm of policing by developing and advocating for policies that strengthen accountability structures while supporting grassroots efforts to build the infrastructure that will keep all communities healthy and safe.

Our work includes the following.

  • Providing policy resources and expert guidance for advocates and city leaders to advance police accountability
  • Investigating—and providing solutions to confront—institutionalized bias in police departments (see the PolicyLink-supported Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement)
  • Addressing police union power through legal and community-based advocacy strategies
  • Identifying and scaling promising community-led alternatives to police functions
  • Advocating for divestment from police and investment in communities through the Freedom to Thrive campaign, in partnership with Center for Popular Democracy and Law 4 Black Lives
  • Working through the California Alliance for Boys and Men of Color on public safety initiatives, including campaigns to increase transparency and accountability and end special privileges for police
  • Ending the criminalization of poverty
  • Assessing arts- and culture-based, youth-led police trainings and their potential to lead to equitable policies

Partnering with advocacy organizations to end collusion between local and federal law enforcement through the Freedom Cities collaborative