New Community Engagement Resource: Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness
Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness is a powerful new documentary special that follows a community in crisis after the fatal attack of a local immigrant resident. Stunned by the violence and faced with a dangerously divided population in the aftermath of the attack, local law enforcement representatives, civic leaders, and faith-based organizations work to heal divisions and implement new community-wide programs to ensure everyone in the town will be safe. In conjunction with the September 21, 2011, national PBS television broadcast of this film, the Not in Our Town project is launching the multi-year inclusive communities campaign to support local efforts to fight hate crimes and promote safety and inclusion in communities nationwide. Law enforcement officials are invited to request free screening kits that include DVD copies of the film and discussion guides for local community screening events and regional or national gatherings. For complete project details and to request materials, visit http://www.niot.org/lightinthedarkness.
In 2008, a series of attacks against Latino residents of Patchogue, New York, ended with the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived in the village for 13 years. Over a 2-year period, Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness follows Mayor Paul Pontieri; the victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero; and diverse community stakeholders and residents as they are jolted into action. The Suffolk County, New York, Police Department assigns two Spanish-speaking officers to Patchogue to conduct outreach to the frightened Latino immigrant community, and local officers actively participate in community-wide dialogues and other activities.
Law enforcement leaders play a pivotal role in preventing hate crimes and in helping to build a positive community response to local attacks. A key component of the inclusive communities campaign is a partnership with the Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office. The Not in Our Town project welcomes partnerships with additional law enforcement organizations. Please contact Libby McInerny at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss national partnership opportunities. ■
From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 8, August 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.