Who We Are
The Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago (CPSJ) was founded in 1997 as one of the original Regional Community Policing Institutes created through the establishment of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) within the U.S. Department of Justice. The original charge of CPSJ was to expand the understanding and application of community policing and problem-solving techniques used by law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. CPSJ continues to honor its origins in community policing through its portfolio of training, services and research projects to further this mission.
CPSJ has 20 years of national experience in providing training and technical assistance to communities throughout the United States on a variety of topics relating to public safety. Its staff has unique insight into the culture of law enforcement, including operations and organizational structure, and has continued to cultivate strong relationships with local government and community partnership teams.
One of nine (9) research centers within the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, CPSJ helps further CUPPA’s goal of incorporating education and the practical application of research findings to critical issues and problems facing communities throughout the nation.
What We Do
CPSJ promotes public safety for all members of a community through partnerships, community
engagement, and embracing the four pillars of procedural justice—fairness, voice, transparency, and impartiality. CPSJ fosters organizational change and transformation through quality training, technical assistance, and the use of innovative approaches to problem-solving to create safe and livable communities.
Procedural Justice and Community Building
So much of CPSJ’s work has its foundation in the pillars and practices of procedural justice. Based on the tenets of community policing, procedural justice refers to the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocates resources and is a framework on which law enforcement leadership can build effective policing efforts. We recognize the four pillars of procedural justice – fairness in processes, transparency in actions, providing opportunity for voice, and impartiality in decision making – as central to organizational efforts to increase legitimacy internally and externally. To that end, CPSJ works extensively with law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve to move beyond relationships based on authority towards effective public safety strategies that all parties find legitimate.
CPSJ is committed to community building through initiatives rooted in restorative justice. Using non-traditional indigenous engagement methods, CPSJ creates spaces where honest, judgment-free dialogue and problem-solving around challenging community issues can flourish. As trained restorative justice practitioners, CPSJ recognizes the power of individual experience and expertise in collaborative problem-solving. CPSJ recognizes that relationships are the necessary foundation for building trust in public systems and bringing communities together to build capacity through collective action.