Community-Law Enforcement Partnership

The Washington Legislature created the Community-Law Enforcement Partnership (CLEP) program in 2021 to foster community engagement through neighborhood organizing, law enforcement and community partnerships, youth mobilization, and business engagement. (RCW 43.330.545) The work is intended to mobilize communities to insist on equitable and accountable practices resulting in community participation in public safety efforts and establishing cooperative lines of communication between civilians and law enforcement.

Building on Success

Building on certain ongoing efforts in Washington, the program is designed to support up to 15 programs, including in Spokane, Pierce, King, Okanogan, Yakima, Cowlitz, Clark, Chelan-Douglas, Walla-Walla, Benton-Franklin, Grant and Snohomish counties. In this way, programs will operate in a mix of urban, rural, and suburban areas to facilitate community-law enforcement partnerships and improve police-community relations.

Eligibility

Among other things, participants in the CLEP grant program must:

  • Be a public agency or nongovernmental organization
  • Have demonstrated experience with community engagement initiatives that impact public safety
  • Have established or be willing to establish a coordinated effort with committed partners, which must include law enforcement and organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion of community members

A law enforcement agency may be considered an eligible applicant only if there are no other eligible applicants from the community or county in which the law enforcement agency serves.

Activities for Grant Participants

Among other things, successful participants will focus on:

  • Building substantive law enforcement-community partnerships
  • Mobilizing youth to partner with neighborhood groups and law enforcement to prevent violence
  • Engaging businesses to help prevent crimes through safety training and other prevention initiatives;
  • Having established priorities, policies, and measurable goals in compliance with the requirements of the project; and
  • Collecting and reporting data and information as required by Commerce.

Programs will seek to build trust between community members and law enforcement by:

  • Facilitating purposeful antiracist practices and the development of policies that lead to equal treatment under the law
  • Establishing clear expectations for law enforcement to be competent to practice fair and equitable treatment, including facilitating dialogue between law enforcement and community members to increase understanding of the impact of historical racist practices and current conflicts
  • Community members regularly informing law enforcement, through presentations, workshops, or forums, on community perceptions of law enforcement and public safety issues
  • Educating community members on the role and function of law enforcement in the community
  • Clarifying expectations of law enforcement and the role of the community in crime prevention
  • Educating community members on the best practices for reporting emergency and nonemergency activities
  • Recognizing community members for effective engagement and community leadership
  • Recognizing law enforcement officials for efforts to engage underrepresented communities, improve community engagement and empowerment, and reform law enforcement practices

Commerce will submit a preliminary report to the legislature detailing the selected grant recipients and the reporting guidelines by Jan. 1, 2022. Commerce will submit a second report on the project, including an analysis of the funded programs’ data, by Dec. 1, 2023. In the absence of further legislative action, the CLEP program will expire on Jan. 1, 2024.

Resources

Program Contact

Kate Kelly
Executive Director
Office of Firearms Safety and Violence Prevention | Public Safety Unit
kate.kelly@commerce.wa.gov
360-628-6846

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