Building Trust with the Police in Rhode Island

Building Trust with the Police in Rhode Island

31 have signed. Let’s get to 50!

Why this petition matters

Started by Nanisia Oliveira

Trust with the police has been broken in Rhode Island’s Black communities. The long history of police brutality and misconduct, along with the more recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks have worsened the relationship with the police. We believe that steps should be taken to rebuild trust and this is just the first step. 

We understand that there is much education that needs to be provided to the police in terms of diversity training, and that topic is widely discussed and undisputed. There is much work to be done, but the work is necessary, so that Black communities in Rhode Island can begin to trust the police and utilize them the way most non-black do without hesitation. Instead, Black communities are fearful and untrusting. In fact, this fear is so deeply rooted as demonstrated by the fact that some Black pregnant women report an increase in stress and fear as they anticipate police brutality against their unborn children (Mehra et al., 2022). This rebuilding of trust is imperative because people need to be able to rely on the police for help.

Ideas would have to be carried out sensitively and police officers would have to work to cultivate individual relationships with those who they serve. These relationships would be built by the hard work of those police officers who earnestly want to undertake this role.

Some suggested ideas would include entering our public schools to teach age appropriate topics to children, and attending local community events to personally introduce themselves and explain their role. Police officers could attend local preschools and Head Start programs to proactively build relationships with young families.

The police could also host crime prevention series in places like senior centers, houses of worship, and community centers. Additionally, excellent existing programs such as Shop with a Cop (police officer accompanies a young child to purchase gifts for immediate family) and Coffee with a Cop (officers and community members get together over coffee) need to become widespread in Rhode Island’s Black communities. A simple thing such as a conversation over coffee can lead to building trust and help to change the way Black communities may be perceived. 

This petition is our declaration to the State of Rhode Island, that we, the people, Want change. We can start by demonstrating to the police department of Rhode Island that the community supports seeing police engage in activities that build trust with our Black communities. We can start with building rapport and connecting with Black communities, so they feel confident turning to the police for help. Hopefully, we can get enough signatures and present this petition to the police department, so changes can be made moving forward. 

Please help us by signing this petition!


Additional information on existing ideas:


Mehra R., Alspaugh A., Franck L., McLemore M., Kershaw T., Ickovics J., Keene D., & Sewell A. (2022). “Police shootings, now that seems to be the main issue” – Black pregnant women’s anticipation of police brutality towards their children. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1–8.

Photo :

31 have signed. Let’s get to 50!