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 community-led alternatives to police. 

In its work with partners, coalitions, and others, the Police Accountability and Alternatives effort, PolicyLink advises advocates and city leaders on strategies to advance police accountability and end the criminalization of poverty.  The work fosters the use of policies at local, state, and federal levels to achieve police accountability and provide opportunity for residents in urban, suburban, and rural communities to access the opportunities necessary to secure their futures and the futures of their families.  

Our work includes:

  • 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 
  • addressing police union power through legal and community-based advocacy strategies
  • identifying and scaling promising community-led alternatives to police functions (see the PolicyLink supported Blue Ribbon Panel on Police Accountability)
  • 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 end special privileges for police
  • ending the criminalization of poverty
  • assessing arts- and culture-based, youth-led police trainings and their potential to achieve policy wins