Public Safety

Mon Apr 3, 2017

When neighborhood users of SPICE, a synthetic marijuana with side effects including seizures and disorientation, began walking into traffic and collapsing on church and school grounds, leaders from St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church stepped into the void to identify solutions.  Church leaders, in collaboration with Southern Arizona Interfaith, soon launched a campaign to “Give them Food” in addition to collaborating with local law enforcement and county health department to educate the community about the drug and prevent its sale. Over 250 area residents attended one of the community meetings.

In fall 2016, SAI and Pima County Interfaith hosted a nonpartisan accountability session drawing more than 500 leaders to address several issues, including SPICE.  In front of hundreds of voters, candidates promised to introduce a bill to criminalize SPICE ingredients and to help law enforcement press charges against dealers.

This spring, Rep. Pamela Powers (LD9-D) negotiated the inclusion of SPICE ingredients in a bill (HB2033) sponsored by Rep. Heather Carter (LD15-R) on controlled substances, that Governor Ducey signed it into law.

SAI leaders are pointing to this victory as an “example of the great things we can achieve when we work together,” including bi-partisan cooperation in the expansion of the bill to include SPICE ingredients.  Leaders also recognized the Tucson Police Department, St. John’s Pastoral Council and the Pima County Health Department for its collaboration.

Leaders are now working with City of Tucson Councilmembers Richard Fimbres and Steve Kozachik to follow through on their campaign pledges to pass a stricter local ordinance prohibiting the sale of SPICE in Tucson.

Pima County Interfaith, SAI & Allies Challenge Candidates for State Legislative and County OfficeWest / Southwest IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Confronts ‘Spice’ Epidemic in TucsonWest / Southwest IAF

 

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]

 

Wed Aug 27, 2014

Doña Francisca’s death by car, the 4th accident in front of the Sherwood Village senior living facility, brought clarity to members of Aging Latinos in Action. Without a stop sign, seniors were left vulnerable to rushing and inattentive drivers. ALA reached out to COPA for training, then conducted their own research actions and meetings with sitting Council members to secure a crosswalk in front of their living facility. In photo, ALA leaders process down their newly installed crosswalk.

Said leader Fermin Gonzalez, “We’re not part of history…we’re making history!”


Sat Jul 14, 2012

Greater Cleveland Congregations, alongside allies from across the state of Ohio, championed an innovative criminal justice reform bill that will reduce or eliminate many barriers to employment for ex-offenders returning to their home communities.  Governor John Kasich went to Greater Cleveland Congregations for a public bill signing ceremony and celebratory event in Cleveland on July 14, 2012.


Sun Feb 26, 2012

On Feb. 20, nearly 1000 people from 40 congregations across Cuyahoga County assembled to elicit commitments from all five candidates for County Prosector, including:

  1. Eliminating the practice of encouraging juviniles to waive their right to counsel.
  2. Reforming the County's data system to track and abolish the practice of overcharging.
  3. Reducing racial disparities in prosecution.
  4. Increasing diversion and treatment programs for you.

Tue May 3, 2011

In response to the tragic murder of 12-year old Sean Johnson, BUILD acted quickly to call on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to allocate a permanent police foot patrol to keep the neighborhood safe. BUILD is working with Major Melvin Russell, Eastern District Police Commander, and the Mayor to improve public safety and provide opportunities for neighborhood youth.


Tue Jan 4, 2011

South London Citizens' pioneering work on safety has been widely recognised and is increasingly emulated by statutory bodies (City Hall, Metropolitan Police, Liverpool MET, local authority safety partnerships). The first retail City Safe zone, Lewisham Shopping Centre, scooped recent business awards due to its success at tackling crime, increasing positive youth role‐models, raising investment and building stronger business partnerships. This led to the endorsement of City Safe by Westfield who plan to adopt the scheme in their next retail development. Research shows that theft and violent incidents have fallen since City Safe has been implemented in Lewisham, where citizens, businesses and security staff are working together.


In the News


Do Not Stabd Idly By, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher, Safe Gun Technology

NYT: When the Dollar is Mightier Than the Gun

Sunday, March 4, 2018
New York Times

Gun violence is not an abstract concept for Rabbi Joel Mosbacher. His father, Lester, was shot dead in 1999 as he opened up his check-cashing business on Chicago’s South Side. Rabbi Mosbacher, who had been ordained just six months earlier, struggled to make sense of the murder, even as well-meaning friends struggled to find words of comfort and support.

“Some were helpful, others less so,” he recalled. “Someone said ‘This will make you a better rabbi.’ Well, I’d rather be a terrible rabbi and have my father back.”

A young man who had run errands for his father was arrested and tried for the murder, but was ultimately acquitted. For years, Rabbi Mosbacher quietly dealt with his family’s grief. But five years ago he started telling his story as part of a national campaign by clergy and civic-minded residents to enlist public officials — whose law enforcement agencies are major gun buyers — to press gun makers into developing safer technology and crack down on dealers whose weapons end up in criminal hands.


Do Not Stand Idly By, Rabbi Friedman, Anthony Bennett, OpEd

CONECT Responds to Claims by National Shooting Sports Foundation

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Connecticut Post

Lawrence G. Keane is supposed to represent the gun manufacturers and retailers who pay his salary. With his wildly inaccurate attack on us and our network of citizens’ organizations (‘Smart Gun’ technology can’t be forced on law enforcement or public,” Conn. Post, Feb. 20, 2018) he does his patrons a disservice; he misses a rare chance to find common ground with Americans who stand outside of the gun industry’s ever-narrowing circle of wagons.


DNSIB, Safe Gun Technology, Metro IAF, US Conference of Mayors

‘Do Not Stand Idly By’ Community Organizing Groups Press US Mayors

Monday, February 5, 2018
The Connection

Northern Virginia community organizers joined interstate partners on Jan. 25 in Washington, D.C. to press U.S. mayors for safer gun technologies.

Metro IAF comprises 22 organizations, including VOICE in northern Virginia, in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Representatives converged in the capital to press the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Metro IAF’s “Do Not Stand Idly By” (DNSIB) gun safety campaign. The campaign title references a Bible verse: “Do not stand idly by while you neighbor’s blood is shed.”


Gun Safety Technology, African American Mayors Association, US Conference of Mayors

DNSIB Campaign Pushes Forward, Inspires US Mayors to Act

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Do Not Stand Idly By

On January 25th, 100 Metro IAF leaders from 10 states fanned out across the Washington, DC metropolitan area for a full day of actions and meetings with more than a dozen local and national leaders concerned with gun violence.

The meetings resulted in preliminary commitments secured from New Haven Mayor Harp to present Metro IAF's DNSIB strategy to the African American Mayors Association Conference and to work with Boston Mayor Walsh to organize a special Gun Safety Technology and Manufacturer Accountability session at a US Conference of Mayors meeting hosted by Mayor Walsh.


Gun Safety, DNSIB, Smart Guns

State Advocates Push for Smart Guns in Washington

Thursday, January 25, 2018
New Canaan News

Connecticut has become ground zero of sorts for spurring development of smart guns that use technology to prevent accidental or unauthorized discharge of firearms, particularly by children.

The state government is one of 122 jurisdictions in the nation to join in a “request for information” to gun manufacturers on what steps they are taking to develop smart-gun technology. The RFI has been orchestrated by an ad hoc group, Do Not Stand Idly By, made up primarily of religious leaders.


Gov. Hogan, Rev. Robert P. Hoch, Metro IAF, DNSIB

BUILD: Gov. Hogan, What is Your Plan to Stop Violence in Baltimore?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Baltimore Sun

Dear Governor Hogan,

I am writing in my capacity as pastor of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. For the past year, our congregation has set aside part of our weekly worship to remember those who have lost their lives to gun violence. Each week, we have held up purple ribbons as we prayed, each ribbon representing a life lost to gun violence in Baltimore. We have prayed. We have grieved. And now we are moving those prayers out of the sanctuary, into the street and finally to our elected officials.

I am also writing as a member of BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development). First & Franklin and BUILD leaders and organizers plan to be in Annapolis Thursday to present to the legislature — and the larger state of Maryland — the 343 purple ribbons representing the number of people killed in 2017 as a result of gun violence in our city....


Police Contract, Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, Community Organizing in Baltimore

Baltimore Brings in New Lawyers to Restart Police Contract Talks

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, a leader with the community group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, said the city and the union urgently need to reach a deal.

“With everything that the city is facing in terms of violent crime, it’s essential that the mayor and police union leadership get on the same page with each other,” said Connors, whose group has pushed city leaders to fight violence....


Mayor Catherine Pugh, violence, law enforcement, safety, Maryland IAF

250 BUILD Leaders Demand Release of Mayor's Anti-Violence Strategy

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Metro IAF
BUILD turned out 250 members on August 2nd to demand Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh release her comprehensive strategy to fight violence. BUILD called on the Mayor to convene top law enforcement, corporate, and philanthropic leaders along with BUILD & the City Council to review the plan and make it actionable.

safe guns, Do Not Stand Idly By, Police Commissioner James O'Neill

EBC Wins NYPD Pledge to Push for Gun Safety with Glock

Friday, July 28, 2017
Metro IAF
East Brooklyn Congregations had an incredible assembly and action at the end of July with NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, Housing Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and 1,400+ East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders.  The sanctuary at St. Paul Community Baptist Church was standing room only, and there were many more people in the entry way, chapel and in rooms downstairs.
 
The themes of the night were criminal justice and immigration, affordable housing, and launching EBC’s largest ever action on Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, October 9th.
 
EBC had an incredible breakthrough with Commissioner O'Neill who committed publicly to meet with Glock firearms....

Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, Community Organizing in Baltimore

Pugh Defends Approach to Baltimore Crime, BUILD Responds

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Baltimore Sun

....The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, co-chairman of the advocacy group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, said Pugh should make her crime plan available for the public to review.

 
Foster Connors, senior pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church, said “there is a disturbing attitude coming from her right now that she can handle everything, she can do it alone, others don't need to question her.”
 
"This is a crisis,” he said. “Let's all come together and develop a plan. If she has a crime-reduction plan, the public doesn’t know about it. BUILD hasn’t been apprised of any crime reduction plan that’s coming from the mayor’s office, or any plan to address the unprecedented surge in homicides.
 
“Many of us in the community would like to be engaged in that."...

police shooting, #BLM, Jayson Negron, Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard

CONECT Demands Police Reforms Following Fatal Shooting of 15-Yr Old

Friday, June 2, 2017
FOX Channel 61 & ctpost
A dozen CONECT Clergy and Lay leaders gathered at the site of 15 year-old Jayson Negron's fatal shooting by a Bridgeport Police Officer with several of Jayson’s family members (his sister, aunt and cousin) to call for 1) a timely and transparent investigation, 2) the use of body and dash cameras by the Bridgeport Police Department, and 3) the prioritization of de-escalation and racial/cultural sensitivity training for all Bridgeport police officers.
 
CONECT called on Mayor Ganim, Police Chief Armando Perez, and State's Attorney Platt to meet with CONECT on these issues. Depending on the progress of the investigation and what it shows, CONECT may call for other changes in the future as well.
 

Community Organizing in Tucson, SPICE, Neighborhood Safety, Arizona IAF

Southern Arizona Interfaith Passes SPICE Ordinance in Tucson

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Arizona Daily Star & Tucson News Now

Fresh from a state legislative victory allowing the criminalization of SPICE, Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders succeeded in persuading local policy makers to pass a city ordinance against the nasty synthetic drug.  Tucson City councilmembers listened intently as leader Christina Crawford described how SPICE gave her son seizures and spasms, and as Msgr. Raul Trevizo and other leaders described finding vomiting and passed out youth on St. John the Evangelist church grounds.

Councilmembers praised the team for their persistence over 18 months, before unanimously voting to include the new chemical in a Tucson drug ordinance.  Reporters recorded the standing ovation Southern Arizona Interfaith leaders delivered to the Council upon passage of the ordinance.

Said leader Lorena Santos, “Look what we can do when we work together!  This is just the beginning!”

Tucson City Leaders Pass SPICE OrdinanceTucson News Now

Tucson In a Cat-and-Mouse Fight Against Nasty Synthetic DrugArizona Daily Star [pdf]


Gun Safety, Campus Safety, Do Not Stand Idly By, College Campus

Metro IAF Launches "Are Guns Allowed On Campus?" Online Petition

Monday, March 6, 2017
Metro IAF


Baton Rouge Police Department, Use-Of-Force Policy, Louisiana IAF

TBR Congratulates Mayor for Use-Of-Force Policy Overhaul

Friday, February 3, 2017
The Advocate

When Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s announcement of an overhaul of the police department’s use-of-force policies, Together Baton Rougeexpressed pride in the role they played in its development and extended public congratulations.  The organization claims that with the announced changes, the Baton Rouge Police Department’s (BRPD) go “from being among the weakest 30% of cities in the nation to being among the strongest 7% in terms of alignment with national best practices.”

Together Baton Rouge leaders are continuing their work on law enforcement practices, including the recent release of a study on neighborhood disparities in drug possession enforcement.

BRPD Union: No Ill Effects from Sharon Weston Broome’s ‘Common Sense’ Use-Of-Force Policy AdditionsThe Advocate

TBR Statement of SupportTogether Baton Rouge


Listening Campaign, violence, Baltimore, Youth Trauma & Opportunity

BUILD Listens to 1,100 Residents, Ratifies Plan to Fight Baltimore Violence

Saturday, January 28, 2017
Metro IAF

Baltimore’s unprecedented violence last year made national news, and BUILD responded by listening to approximately 1,100 city residents about their experiences with violent crime and what they most want the Mayor and City officials to act on immediately. BUILD has already trained 120 members and leaders to be the Nehemiahs that will rebuild a broken city and formed issue action teams to research and turn the large scale problems the community faces into actionable issues.


Community Policing, Keisha Krumm, Rev. Will Davis, Rev. Ciara Davis #BLM

More Police is Not the Answer - by Common Ground

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Urban Milwaukee

Every American understands the fundamental value of self-preservation — of literally being able to live and breathe another day.

For most Americans, this translates into having a good lock on the door, a security guard in front of a building, or a police department that responds to signs of danger or sightings of people who seem bent on crime or destruction.

For African Americans, especially African American males, self-preservation is not something that can be taken for granted....


Gun Violence, safe guns, Do Not Stand Idly By, Weapons Manufacturing

Rabbis Join Rally in Fight to Stop Gun Violence

Friday, October 14, 2016
NJ Jewish News

A broad coalition of political and religious leaders — including prominent members of New Jersey’s Jewish community — rallied Oct. 6 on the steps of Newark City Hall to demand that weapons manufacturers join them in their fight to halt gun violence.

Under a banner reading “Do Not Stand Idly By,” Christian and Jewish activists urged large and small municipalities to insist that the guns they purchase for police departments include safety features to prevent the weapons from being fired by people other than the officers to whom they have been issued....


Alton Sterling, police shooting, Louisiana IAF, Community Policing

Together Baton Rouge Leaders "Refuse to be Divided"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New York Times

In a press conference covered by the New York TimesNational Public Radio and theWall Street JournalTogether Baton Rouge leaders repudiated recent violence and called for careful and intentional dialogue about community divisions and policing. “We condemn violence of any kind…” said Lee Wesley, the pastor of Community Bible Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.  During the press conference, leaders stood behind the lectern wearing “Together Baton Rouge” buttons and hoisting signs saying “We refuse to be divided.”


Community Policing, Sheriff Richard Wiles, Arturo Aguila, Public Safety

Border Interfaith Leaders Build Trust with El Paso Sheriff

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
El Paso Times

Over 80 leaders of Border Interfaith participated in three meetings with El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles (including Lieutenants and Deputies) over the course of two months to build relationships of trust and to address community concerns...


Alton Sterling, #Blacklivesmatter, Community Policing, Louisiana IAF

300 TBR Leaders Call for Changed Policing and Economic Reforms

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
The Advocate & More

Over 300 leaders of Together Baton Rouge called for both law enforcement and economic reforms at a luncheon meeting held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.  The call to action occurred after breakout sessions in which leaders substantively listened to each other.  Said Rev. Lee Wesley, “It is not our goal to return to where we were before Alton Sterling was shot.  It is not our goal to get back to business as usual.  It is our goal to move forward.”


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Josephine Lopez-Paul

DAI Calls on Police, Community to Build Trust for Better Policing

Sunday, July 10, 2016
Dallas Morning News

At a community meeting organized by Dallas Area Interfaith, there were no easy platitudes in reference to the Thursday night shooting of police officers and protesters that left five officers dead...  


Community Policing, #Blacklivesmatter, Alton Sterling, Gov. Edwards

Together Baton Rouge Secures Broader Investigation into Lethal Shooting of Alton Sterling

Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Advocate & More

Shortly after leaders of Together Baton Rouge called on the Justice Department to widen the scope of its investigation into the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, saying it should include possible state criminal violations, a spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards responded, saying that the U.S. attorney’s office will not only investigate whether civil rights were violated, but also potential state and federal violations....


Gun Safety, Gun Sales, Rev. Francis Skelly, Immaculate Conception

South Bronx Churches' Rev. Skelly Takes on Dirty Gun Sales

Saturday, February 6, 2016
NY Daily News

"Rev. Francis Skelly, whose parish includes many residents of the Melrose Houses, seemed unsurprised that the gun used in the [police] shooting came from the south — or that the seller once hailed from the north.

“This pipeline of guns from the South, up Interstate 95 and into New York City, has been well-established for decades,” said Skelly. “We don’t expect the legislators of those states to fix the problem, even if Bill Bernstein loses his race.”

[Rev. Skelly is pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, a member of South Bronx Churches.]


New Jersey Together, Do Not Stand Idly By, Gov. Christie, safe guns

New Jersey Smart Gun Advocates Press On

Thursday, January 28, 2016
The Trace

It’s been a week since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pocket vetoed a bill that would have updated a controversial 2002 smart gun law widely seen as a detriment to the technology. Asked why the bill was left to die, Christie’s office noted that the smart gun reform was among 100 bills passed “in such a hasty and scrambled way” at the end of the legislative calendar, and sponsors of last-minute measures shouldn’t be “praying for them to be rubber stamped.” In other words, he wasn’t given enough time to read or evaluate the proposal.

But to legislators and activists deeply involved in the vetoed bill’s development, Christie’s explanation doesn’t bear up to scrutiny....


Tamir Rice Shooting, Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, Black Lives Matter, Police

GCC Rabbi Speaks on Dialogue Re: Tamir Rice Grand Jury Ruling

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Cleveland Jewish News

Given the Cuyahoga County grand jury's decision in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, things in our community are tense. Elevating the dialogue about law enforcement could help release some of that tension.

We need to talk to one another, though people seem to be under the impression one can only be for or against police when it comes to the tragedy of this young man'\’s death. Many have told me you can't empathize with both the Rice family and with Cleveland police.

That’s just not so.... 


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