This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to New York City where I participated in an informative and lively workshop with 15 Latin American Mayors. The Mayors traveled to the United States from Brazil to learn about innovations in community policing. The session was held at the historical Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, drawing in a robust crowd of academic administrators, educators, and international policy makers. While the structured presentations were scheduled to end by midday, the inspired conversations lasted through the afternoon.
The Mayors’ program was sponsored by Comunitas, an organization of the Brazilian civil society that aims to “contribute to the improvement of corporate social investment and encourage private sector participation in social and economic development of the country.”
It was a fascinating gathering of community-focused minds and experts, with special guests including the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives, Zachary Tumin, and Susan Herman, Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing at the NYPD. The convergence of experience within these multi-disciplinary fields helped approach the policing innovations with cultural awareness and worldly perspective.
I prepared for the day by reading my recommended materials for the discussion; specifically, a published report from Pelotas, Brazil that diagnosed the current situation of violence–and sense of insecurity of citizens– and the 140 resulting safety activities and initiatives, like the Quiet City and Local Childhood Strategy, from the local “Pelotas Pact for Peace” project.
From there, the conversation centered around a few principle questions like “How we can reduce local violence/ disturbances and make public space safer?” Some presenters demonstrated how to first determine what their citizen priorities might be and then lead the way in defining their local agendas — similar to how the NYPD increased citizen engagement through a crowdsourced idea campaign.
I was most surprised by the high level of engagement, thoughtful questions, and the genuine desire from the Mayors to make their public spaces safer. They wanted learn new techniques and practices to reduce traffic deaths, combat violence, and improve their local communities.
Most of all, I enjoyed making lifelong connections and doing a (small) part to impact cohesion of the social fabric of local communities in Brazil.
This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.
This post is by Tim Sussman, Director of Government Solutions at IdeaScale.