Gun Violence

Community Safety Leadership Academies

A police officer and an outreach worker are pictured side by side.
A police officer and an outreach worker are pictured side by side.

The Community Safety Leadership Academies, composed of the Policing Leadership Academy and Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy, aim to educate police and community violence intervention leaders.

Challenge

American cities are facing a public safety crisis, and the urgent day-to-day work of saving lives falls primarily to two sectors, police departments, and community violence intervention organizations, that have not yet been able to capitalize on the advances in data-driven management practices that have transformed many other sectors.

Opportunity

In light of the success of data-driven management in cities like New York and Los Angeles and Crime Lab research showing the game-changing impact of overhauling public safety management practices, the Crime Lab launched the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA). Composed of a Policing Leadership Academy and a Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Leadership Academy, CSLA brings together emerging policing and CVI leaders for a 6-month education program on data-driven management, violence reduction, and community trust. CSLA is the most ambitious and robustly evaluated public safety leadership and management training program ever offered in the United States.

Project overview

American cities are facing a safety crisis. In 2020, America saw the largest rise in murders in 50 years. At least 12 major U.S. cities set homicide records. This surge in gun violence has exacerbated pre-existing public safety gaps experienced by many communities of color. It has erased progress in reducing gun violence in some neighborhoods since it peaked in the 1990s.

Thirty years ago, the murder rates in Los Angeles and New York City were at their respective historic highs. But from then through the start of the pandemic, murders dropped by fully 80% in LA and 90% in NYC. Why are LA and NYC outliers compared to other large American cities? Part of the answer seems to be that NYC and LA professionalized their police forces with better management techniques, technology, and training, as well as by prioritizing developing community violence intervention (CVI) capacity within the nonprofit sector.

While closing this public safety and trust gap will take long-term, sustained investment in both police departments and communities, we believe that by providing better training to police and CVI leaders, we can see quick, measurable improvements in public safety and trust.

That’s why the University of Chicago Crime Lab launched the Community Safety Leadership Academies (CSLA). The CSLA offer first-of-their-kind programs to educate police and CVI leaders from across America and the world, rigorously evaluating the program to determine its effectiveness. This effort brings together data and behavioral science insights of top academics at one of the world’s leading research institutions and leading practitioners who have a demonstrated track record of real-world success. Housed at the University of Chicago, the Academies run simultaneously and with complementary curricula, with a goal to be the most impactful and robustly evaluated public safety training ever offered in the United States.

Learn more about the CVI Leadership Academy.

Learn more about the Policing Leadership Academy.

Years Active

2022 – present

Project Leads

Roseanna Ander

Roseanna Ander

Founding Executive Director

Meredith Stricker

Meredith Stricker

Executive Director of the Policing Leadership Academy

Chico Tillmon

Chico Tillmon

Executive Director of the Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy

Related Resources
Community Safety Leadership Academies: Brief
Project Overview

Community Safety Leadership Academies: Brief

Aug 2023

Learn more about our Community Safety Leadership Academies.

Community Safety Leadership Academies: Project Overview
Project Overview

Community Safety Leadership Academies: Project Overview

Aug 2023

Learn more about our Community Safety Leadership Academies.

The PLA cohort in class (Photo by Jason Smith).
General Stanley McChrystal teaches at the PLA (Photo by Jason Smith).
Headshot of ‘Crime Lab’ staff person

The Community Safety Leadership Academies will foster more effective and efficient collaborative efforts between law enforcement and community violence intervention leaders – both of whom are working toward our shared goal of a safer and more inclusive future for all. Together, we’re building bridges, forging partnerships, and empowering our graduates to navigate the complex terrain of public safety, ensuring that our communities thrive.

Dr. Chico Tillmon

Director, CVI Leadership Academy

A headshot of Ken Griffin.

The Crime Lab and its partners have made the communities they serve safer. The success of these programs demonstrates that we know how to better protect our residents and build stronger bonds between law enforcement and our neighborhoods. Leveraging these insights, the Community Safety Leadership Academies will bring together the best minds from policing, violence intervention, and research to strengthen the way we invest in community safety in cities across the nation.

Kenneth C. Griffin

Citadel Founder and CEO

Headshot of ‘Crime Lab’ staff person

Improving the ability of community safety institutions to use data-driven management strategies is a vastly underutilized lever for stemming the tide of gun violence and closing the safety gap in America’s cities. That’s why we are launching the University of Chicago Community Safety Leadership Academies, the most robust public safety management programs ever offered in the United States.

Roseanna Ander

Founding Executive Director

The first CVILA cohort (Photo by Beking Media).
The first CVILA cohort in class (Photo by Beking Media).

Watch the Policing Leadership Academy graduation speeches, October 2023

CVILA students, steering committee members, and instructors at the CVILA launch event.

Watch our video about the CVI Leadership Academy launch, September 2023

Watch the CSLA launch event, May 2022

Related News

Crime Lab Spearheads a National Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence and Increase Fairness in Policing
Media Mention
Harris School of Public Policy
Jan 2024

Crime Lab Spearheads a National Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence and Increase Fairness in Policing

In this piece, Roseanna Ander, Jens Ludwig, and Dr. Chico Tillmon speak on the Community Safety Leadership Academies, the most robust public safety leadership and management training programs ever offered in the United States.

Do the Police Have a Management Problem?
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Do the Police Have a Management Problem?

Crime Lab Pritzker Director Dr. Jens Ludwig was featured on the latest Freakonomics Radio episode with Policing Leadership Academy participants and leaders. In this episode, Jens and Freakonomics Radio host Stephen J. Dubner discussed our Policing Leadership Academy and the importance of professionalizing police leadership to effectively reduce gun violence.

Second Chance Month: Centering Lived Experience in Violence Intervention
Media Mention
National League of Cities
Apr 2024

Second Chance Month: Centering Lived Experience in Violence Intervention

In recognition of Second Chance Month, the National League of Cities’ Maryam Ahmed and Kirby Gaherty write about the importance of centering “credible messengers”—people with lived experience in the justice system—to advance community safety and highlight the Crime Lab’s Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academy.