CPSC functions as an embedded partner, drawing on our experience and expertise to actively support community leaders, criminal justice agencies and social service providers as they work to reduce violence, build better outcomes for young people at risk of violence and strengthen police-community trust.

Stockton, a diverse Central Valley community of almost 300,000, is recovering from bankruptcy, and its growing police department is making steady progress reducing street violence after a record 71 homicides in 2012. Over the past three years it has achieved a 30% reduction in homicides.

Recognizing SPD’s youth – more than half of officers have fewer than three years of experience – CPSC is working with the department’s leadership to shape its future in two ways: First, to help develop violence reduction strategies that work but rely less on tactics and strategies that lead to over-incarceration. This approach is compatible with statewide criminal justice reform mandates, such as realignment and Proposition 47, that seek to reduce California’s prison population. Second, to build a foundation for partnering with the community through training and related organizational change based on principles of procedural justice and addressing implicit bias.

In addition, CPSC is helping Stockton to develop a city-level office intended to enhance and institutionalize its violence reduction efforts. The office will do this in part by engaging a variety of community and service partners — community leaders, people directly affected by violence and outreach workers — in building credible pathways to safety and opportunity for young people at highest risk of violence.


Oakland, a highly diverse Bay Area city of just over 400,000, was widely known as one of the most violent cities in the country. Since working with CPSC to implement Ceasefire in late 2012, it has reduced homicides and non-fatal injury shootings by almost 40 percent. The city, with support from CPSC, is now focused on sustaining the efforts of its violence reduction partnership to make Oakland truly safe for all.

In particular, CPSC is working with the Department of Human Services and community partners to redesign Oakland’s approach to supporting young people at highest risk of violence. The goal is to reduce their short-term risk of becoming a victim or going to prison, while providing pathways for improving their lives in the long term.

CPSC is also developing a performance management framework to support the city’s violence reduction efforts. This framework links management closely with a comprehensive analysis of local violence through problem analyses, shooting reviews, social network analysis and evaluation. It includes transparent performance indicators that help manage a complex citywide partnership. Finally, it supports the police department’s continuing efforts to strengthen community relationships through training and related organizational change rooted in procedural justice and addressing implicit bias.


Principled Policing uses good science to improve trust with communities that suffer from crime and violence. We support police departments in training and organizational change to apply procedural justice principles, address implicit bias and improve police legitimacy.

Many police departments face challenges in building trust among the community partners they need to work with to address violence. This requires moving beyond small scale trust-building efforts to comprehensive, in-depth measures that signal a department-wide commitment to change.

To address this, CPSC turned to an innovative, evidence-based training in procedural justice developed by the Chicago Police Department’s training division in partnership with Yale University professors Tracey Meares and Tom Tyler. Working with police departments and community leaders in Oakland, Stockton and Salinas, CPSC led the initial replication of that training in California. The training, which now also addresses implicit bias, is proving to be an effective foundation for strengthening community-police relations. It has been well-received by officers, has engaged police and community members constructively on difficult issues and has been readily applied to everyday police practice.

In the next phase of this work, CPSC is supporting a number of police departments, in partnership with community leaders, to develop comprehensive training strategies and complementary changes in policy and practice. A focus of the initiative will be to develop trust-building performance indicators that police managers and their community partners can use to reliably (and transparently) manage their joint efforts. The goal is to develop policing approaches that measurably improve trust between police and communities.