In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a man who supposedly had sworn to protect and serve him sparked calls for change not only in the United States, but across the globe. From Rio de Janeiro to London to Nairobi, activists and policymakers began to imagine a better path forward for public safety — one that confronts the problems of excessive force, racial and ethnic disparities, and an overreliance on policing to address a broad range of social needs and challenges.
This different vision of creating public safety through a partnership with public health in the wake of Floyd’s murder and the pandemic is the focus of the latest edition of the Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being.
“The emerging invigorated interest in alternative responses to the wide range of long-standing societal problems has brought into focus some fundamental questions,” writes Arnold Ventures Director of Criminal Justice Marc Krupanski, who served as guest editor, in an introductory essay. “What sort of partnerships between relevant sectors can be developed that better address social problems while minimizing harm? What kind of investments can government and international donors make to ensure safe and healthy communities while upholding people’s rights and liberties?”
From drug treatment diversion programs in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Vietnam, to police and health intervention programs to prevent the spread of HIV in Africa, the special issue on “Law Enforcement and Public Health Partnerships” looks at how countries across the globe are learning — and teaching — about this emergent and transformative field of alternative approaches to public safety.