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The Collaborative Agreement's Influence Nationwide

Michael E. Keating

Fifteen years after the signing of Cincinnati's Collaborative Agreement the U.S. Department of Justice and cities nationwide are looking to the document for guidance to settle and avoid unrest.

A week-long conference focusing on the Collaborative Agreement is wrapping up Friday with a speech from Jonathan Smith, former head of the special litigation section civil rights division of the Justice Department. From 2010-2015 Smith investigated nearly two dozen police departments including Cleveland, Ohio and Ferguson, Missouri.

He quickly saw that Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement could be a model for other departments. Smith says the collaborative "was an extremely creative approach to addressing problems between the police and the community....so it no longer became an us vs them in post-reform...it was a conversation between the police department and the community."

Smith says the nation is at a critical moment and if the movement is to be sustained we will need to democratize policing.