NDAA’s newly established Community Engagement Initiative promotes a long-term, proactive partnership among prosecutor offices, law enforcement, the community and partners within the criminal justice system. The Community Engagement Initiative seeks to strengthen prosecutor-led programming and trust building in order to enhance the quality of life of the communities in which they serve. Prosecutors continue to innovate in the field as they engage with the communities they serve, while also engaging with internal office staff to ensure needs, challenges and opportunities are adequately addressed.
NDAA encourages the implementation of the four Key Principles of Community Prosecution:
1. Recognizing the Community’s Role in Public Safety
Rather than dictating to the public how to handle all crime and safety issues, community prosecutors invite community stakeholders to express their safety concerns, identify neighborhood problems, brainstorm appropriate responses and help the prosecutor’s office establish priorities.
2. Engaging in Problem Solving
Community prosecutors are problem-solvers who focus not merely on individual crimes once committed but on such acts within a context. They view individual acts as having a history, potentially a future, and as part of a problem or set of problems within a community.
3. Establishing and Maintaining Partnerships
The criminal justice system is an interlocking network of agencies and departments that depend on each other to operate effectively. Community prosecutors build on these natural connections, encouraging greater communication, improved coordination, and stronger partnerships.
4. Evaluating Outcomes of Activities
For community prosecutors, evaluating effectiveness cannot be solely decided upon a conviction rate. Community prosecutors must evaluate their activities and impact on neighborhoods, continuously adapting to the community’s needs.