Criminal Justice & Community Relations Taskforce


Reducing tensions and building trust between law enforcement and communities of color is a top priority for the YWCA in our racial justice work. To that end, the YWCA convenes the Criminal Justice & Community Relations Taskforce, comprised of law enforcement and community partners focused on building stronger police-community relations in our region.

The Taskforce grew out of conversations with key law enforcement leaders who participated in the pilot "Let's Talk: A Conversation about Race" series in February 2014. These discussions led to a 9-month planning process to develop a two-day law enforcement training.

Law Enforcement Training

Entitled “To Protect & Serve in the 21st Century: Building Bridges with Diverse Communities,” the overall goal was to equip law enforcement officers with the knowledge and tools to build stronger relationships with the diverse communities that they protect and serve. Over the course of the two days, local and national subject-matter experts presented on:

  • Reducing incidents of racial profiling and building trust with communities;
  • Increasing awareness of State and Federal Civil Rights laws and their application to criminal law enforcement;
  • Preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate groups; and
  • Delivering culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services.

300 police officers representing 30 police jurisdictions and state agencies across five counties completed the “To Protect & Serve” trainings in February, March and April of 2015. Planning will begin soon for another series of trainings to be held in the spring of 2017, this time targeting a broader geographic audience. Stay tuned for details in the coming months.

Community Outreach & Education

The Taskforce’s most recent project was developing a “What To Do When Stopped by the Police” community education initiative. Designed to provide community members (particularly young people) with the knowledge and tools to have safer interactions with law enforcement officers, these materials include a brochure, wallet card and social media graphic – all available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and French.

Please visit the “What To Do When Stopped by the Police” webpage to learn more and access all of the materials!

In the News

Smart Talk: What To Do When Stopped by the Police,” WITF, August 11th, 2016.

Here's what to do, what not to do, when stopped by cops,” PennLive, July 27th, 2016

YWCA, police departments team up to arm people with info about police interactions,” ABC 21, July 27th, 2016

 Listen to Law Enforcement & Community Leaders on the YWCA's Police Training, Radio PA News Network, July 15, 2015.


"Midstate police work to improve communication with communities," WITF, May 12, 2015

Police & the People, Episode 3: The Community Response,” WHBG TV, March 6, 2015


If you'd like to learn more about the work of the Criminal Justice & Community Relations Taskforce, contact Amanda Arbour, Racial Justice Program Coordinator, at or 717-234-7931 x3057. 

Listen to Law Enforcement & Community Leaders on the YWCA’s Police Training, Radio PA News Network, July 15th, 2015.”

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