The phrase and ideas behind reimagined public safety was coined by LA native Aqeela Sherrills. Sherrills is a peace advocate, mediator, and spirit-centered activist based out of the community of Watts. He is known both for his work on a historic peace treaty in Watts as well as for the innovative approaches to public safety he has brought to Newark, New Jersey at the request of Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka.
In a recent interview, Sherrills explains it like this:
Law enforcement is only one aspect of the whole public safety process. The reality is that you can’t have public safety without the public. And safety is not the absence of violence or crime. Safety is the presence of well-being and the infrastructure to support victims and survivors in a respectful way.
Core tenets of reimagined public safety include
- Investing in community-based programs
- Trauma-informed practitioners
- Resolving conflicts to peaceful outcomes
- Focusing on victims and survivors