Connecting Cops and Community
March 1, 2023
When people think of interactions between the police and the public these days, for many, the first thoughts that come to mind are of horrific incidents like the deaths of George Floyd or Brianna Taylor. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the Acton Institute is headquartered, a police officer is currently awaiting trial in the shooting death of 26-year old Patrick Lyoya.
These incidents, and the rifts they have created between members of the community and members of law enforcement, highlight some of the challenges of modern policing. How can we bridge the divide between the police, who serve and important and necessary function in our society, and the public, to whom they are ultimately responsible.
Enter iCI Nation, an organization based here in Grand Rapids that brings communities together by uniting citizens, law enforcement & community organizations to foster a healthy environment for community to build trust with law enforcement. iCI is lead by founder and executive director Jennifer Franson, who in just two years has facilitated over 100 connections with law enforcement and community building new relationships and trust. This momentum has continued to snowball as her membership has quadrupled in size and now has the FBI coming to her to ask for help building relationships with their community.
Today, Eric Kohn talks with Jenn Franson about her work, the challenges facing local law enforcement and the communities they serve, and how those obstacles to more meaningful connections between the police and the public can be overcome.