LVMPD's The Black Giving Circle
In February, The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation launched a new program called the Black Giving Circle as a way to financially support initiatives aimed at improving relationships between law enforcement and Southern Nevada’s Black community.
According to Tom Koch Kovach, the executive director of the LVMPD Foundation, “the foundation felt creating the Black Giving Circle was a way to give the Black community a chance to have engagement with the police department in positive ways and take greater ownership of public safety.
Our Executive Director, Erika Washington was invited to share her thoughts about the Black Giving Circle on the PBS show Nevada Week. She said, “the program may have good bones but I’m not sure that giving resources to police-led little leagues and doughnuts with cops is the best way to improve the lives of Black people.” “I think the problem is less about a relationship between the community and police officers but resources that need to be made available to folks who live in marginalized communities,” she said.
Washington said that when people chant the phrase ‘defund police,’ they are asking to move resources from policing into long-term programs to help lift people up and change their circumstances. She went on to say, while the programs are good she doesn’t think they have a direct connection with policing or building trust with police. “Trust really starts at the root and that root is policing done differently. The community still says they don’t feel safe when the police come around because of the history and that feeling is not exclusive to Las Vegas.”
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