The Affinity Project Promotes Safer Communities
This ground-breaking program marks the first time a museum has facilitated this type of program to help strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Last month, Museum staff and facilitators from the Illumination Project joined law enforcement officers, community leaders and citizens from Prince George’s County, MD to participate in a two-day workshop of this pilot program.
“I’m thrilled the Museum hosted the Prince George’s County, Maryland community for the Affinity Project pilot program to help enhance some very innovative programs that are already in place with the police department and the citizens there,” said National Law Enforcement Museum Executive Director David Brant.
The project helps participants create understanding, gain personal insights, and target actions and opportunities in their community. “A key component of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s mission is to help make the relationship between citizens and law enforcement stronger,” Brant shared.
“Trust is important. When Chief Stawinski invited me to participate in this workshop, I trusted him because of his vision for Prince George’s County, and his desire to make it a better place,” shared participant Tyreese R. McAllister. “His vision is shared with my desire to live in a better place, so I came. After the last two days, I’m totally on board to committing my time to this project.”
Prince George’s County (MD) Police Chief Hank Stawinski, expressing pride in the strong relationships the police department has with its citizens, remarked “Our participation in the launch of the national Affinity Project is another exciting avenue by which we can continue to build on our existing relationships, forge new friendships and critical partnerships.”
The program pilot included two days of thoughtful dialogue, sharing personal reflections and opinions, as well as role-playing exercises, all designed to help participants analyze their behaviors and perspectives and gain a better understanding of how they affect relations between citizens, the community and law enforcement. Moving forward, the participants will hold “back home” planning sessions to bring the experience and insights to a much wider range of citizens within each community.