Refugee Outreach and Engagement Programs for Police Agencies

Refugee Outreach and Engagement Programs for Police Agencies

Although police departments often face unique challenges in building trust-based relationships with recently resettled refugees, case studies show that proactive officers can bridge those gaps, a report from the Police Executive Research Forum finds. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the report, Refugee Outreach and Engagement Programs for Police Agencies (76 pages, PDF), found that many police agencies have recognized that refugee-specific police programming is essential for the effective integration of refugees — who may come from countries where police officers are associated with human rights abuses, have experienced trauma, or are facing significant needs such as a lack of formal education and the means to achieve self-sufficiency in the United States. Promising practices and lessons learned for police outreach efforts focused on refugees include understanding that trauma can trigger a "fight or flight" response; structuring engagement in a way that helps address refugees' practical concerns; working with resettlement agencies and community leaders; offering educational programs as part of refugees' orientation; and providing cultural competency and limited English proficiency training for the entire department.