The Falls Church Police Department has been a catalyst for transformative change in its notable efforts to reimagine community safety.
The BuildStrong Initiative was launched in the City of Falls Church in February 2021 through the implementation of PEER and RRR. The Restorative Practices Partnership between CYFA and FCPD works to improve outcomes for young people, improve the health of the community, and transform the juvenile legal system into a more balanced and reformative system.
CYFA and the Falls Church Police Department (FCPD) collaborated to implement PEER in the City to achieve accountability through empathy and compassion for people who have suffered harm. Rather than stand in a traditional adversarial role, FCPD officers have a tool (PEER) to offer people who have been impacted by youth harm. PEER advances community policing beyond engagement to systemic reform.
Available to young people ages 10 to 17 who have engaged in harmful behavior that would amount to a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony.
Community-based, youth-led diversion program so that the parties are not involved in the juvenile legal system. PEER Ambassadors are trained in PEER’s comprehensive curriculum.
Provides for meaningful accountability, is trauma- and victim-centered, and provides for successful community reintegration.
There is no residency requirement for referral into PEER. Participation is entirely voluntary and it is victim-centered and driven. Admission of harm is required.
Falls Church is a remarkable “Little City” that enthusiastically supports community-centered initiatives focused on social justice. CYFA implemented RRR in service to FCPD officers and the community by providing restorative conferencing to build community and provide space to speak truth.
Relationships start with conversations. RRR builds community in three ways
Investment in officer wellness improves trust and community relations. CYFA and FCPD are committed to using RRR to build, emphasize, and sustain a culture of mental, physical, and spiritual well-being for all of its officers.
RRR community conversations build and strengthen relationships and community bonds through courageous conversations that promote understanding. These critical equity-based conversations allow participants an opportunity to be curious and to heal in relation to one another.
Co-Creating Community Safety
Authentic relationships between law enforcement and the community are necessary to co-create community safety. CYFA, FCPD, faith-based leaders, and the community are working to hold space for important and often difficult conversations regarding community ideals and needs.