Finding- 2021 c 327 : "The legislature finds that community engagement is a foundational principle of successful community policing practices. When individuals and neighborhood groups are encouraged to partner with law enforcement, a powerful alliance can be built on mutual trust and respect and mitigate polarization between police departments and community groups. A successful community-police partnership leads to the achievement of shared goals of improving safety and quality of life and ensuring that public safety services are tailored to the needs of local communities.
The legislature recognizes current efforts in Washington to mobilize communities to insist on equitable and accountable practices that will result in community participation in public safety efforts as well as establish cooperative lines of communication between civilians and law enforcement. Laudable community engagement models such as the safe streets campaign in Pierce county, safe Yakima in Yakima county, and the Okanogan county community coalition are recognized to mitigate crime trends by engaging the community and law enforcement in cooperative efforts to improve public safety.
The department of commerce intends to foster community engagement with law enforcement officers through the creation of a community engagement project in 15 communities across the state of Washington with a mix of urban, rural, and suburban areas to facilitate community-law enforcement partnerships and improve police-community relations. The department will implement a project evaluation to measure and examine the impact of local initiatives on community engagement, neighborhood safety, and positive community-police relations.
The funded projects will facilitate the empowerment of communities to engage in crime prevention efforts through neighborhood organizing, law enforcement-community partnerships, youth mobilization, and business engagement." [ 2021 c 327 § 1.]