The Task Force on 21st Century Policing provides recommendations for rebuilding trust and including community stakeholders to promote a safer community for all. Some highlights include: community-wide collaboration, cross-discipline education, and creating a culture of trust and transparency.
The Kewaunee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff’s Department has worked with two key community groups since the 1980s: women who are victims of domestic violence and the immigrant Hispanic community. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department recognizes the integral role it plays in the well-being of these two populations.
In 1989, three women came together recognizing the need for services for victims of domestic violence and created the Violence Intervention Project (VIP), which provides services to victims of domestic violence. After a successful 10 years of service, VIP expanded and developed a Transitional Living Program. This program provides a safe temporary living environment for victims of abuse and violence as well as access to support groups, and other resources. Today, the number of victims served by VIP and its Transitional Living program continues to grow and change with the county’s population. To keep up the increasing Hispanic population in Kewaunee County, the VIP program began providing bilingual services, which has helped the program connect more effectively with Hispanic victims of domestic violence.
Another program created in partnership with VIP, is the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) team. The program’s goal was to establish collaboration between community systems and services. The CCR team is comprised of law enforcement, social services, victim advocates, and other stakeholders focused on domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. The CCR provides a safe forum for professionals to have open discussion about how cases are being handled, and what victim services and educational opportunities are available. As a result of the collaborative nature of the team, gaps in services are easily identified and support services are provided to the community.
Kewaunee County has also focused on helping its Hispanic and immigrant communities. Providing bilingual services, such as translators, is just one way the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and other community services have built relationships with the Hispanic Community. A ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop was also held for more than 40 service providers who regularly interact with immigrants. The workshop was hosted by an immigration attorney from nearby Green Bay, WI and the Sheriff of Kewanee County presented about law enforcement’s approach to immigrants and immigration law and other immigration related topics.
A second meeting was held within the community providing an opportunity for residents to ask specific questions about immigration policies and practices. The community is also working to provide its Hispanic community with services connected with all aspects of life. As an example, a Literacy Partners program was created to help provide educational resources including GED prep courses and language classes to help break the language barrier for immigrants and providers. Grzeca Law Group, SC, based out of nearby Green Bay, provides attorney services to the Hispanic community and works to dispel myths about immigration law. These services include a free consultation and on several occasions continued service costs have been covered by local faith communities.
Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department and its community partners continue to improve the way of life for two key populations – women victims of domestic violence and the Hispanic community.
Would you like to know more about these programs in Kewaunee County?
This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Kewaunee County is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.