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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: August 13, 2019 12:26 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing the Community Safety Innovation Grant Program
Our national motto is “e pluribus unum”: out of many, one. Yet in these times of great discord and rancor, this vaunted unity will continue to elude us until we commit to genuine community safety.

Real community safety transcends an individual’s safety; it bolsters in particular the freedoms of the most vulnerable members of society. And in this context, freedom from the threat of hate speech, violent retaliation to peaceful assembly, racial profiling, and other forms of anti-social or bigoted behavior.

Inspired by the tragic events surrounding the Charlottesville white supremacist protest of 2017, this forthcoming bill will establish the Community Safety Innovation Grant Program.

The Program will initiate and administer an innovation tournament and the best ideas for addressing community safety will be ranked within such categories as policing reform, school safety, peaceful assembly, and neighborhood well-being.

After the top ideas have been selected at these tournaments, the general public will be invited to compete in self-organized, multi-stakeholder teams. These teams will be tasked with developing substantive proposals around the best ideas for potential implementation by law enforcement agencies, municipalities, school districts, universities, or community-based organizations.

At the heart of this legislation is the belief that we can only thrive together in a pluralistic society by leveraging the collective wisdom of a diverse array of stakeholders committed to just and inclusive communities across Pennsylvania.

To be eligible to compete for resources, teams must be composed of: 1) at least one member of law enforcement, 2) at least one current student at a PASSHE, state-related or community college, 3) at least one current faculty member affiliated with any of the aforementioned institutions, and 4) at least one person affiliated with a community-based organization.

These teams will have a semester timeframe within which to develop their plans, and resources will be allocated to them to encourage meaningful participation by law enforcement.

All proposals by finalist teams must be evidence-based and concretely address key success metrics related to different dimensions of community safety. Judges for finalist presentations will include representatives from multiple disciplines and spheres.

Winning teams will receive prizes and their members will become ex-officio members of the advisory board for any project inspired by their winning proposal. Additionally, grant money will be provided to qualified entities seeking to implement winning finalist team proposals.

By strategically leveraging the ingenuity of Pennsylvanians, our commonwealth can summon our best selves to prosper in harmony.