Submitted by the City of Evanston
Seven members of the Evanston Police Department had the honor of traveling to London in mid-October to study police reform as New Blue Fellows. Deputy Chief Melissa Sacluti, Sergeant Tosha Wilson, Sergeant Francesca Henderson, Officer Enjoli Daley, Detective Nina Griffith, Officer Jacqueline Herrera and Detective Amanda Wright were each selected in the fall of 2021 to participate in the New Blue Leadership Fellowship Program.
New Blue is a non-profit organization established in 2020 to support police reform from within. The EPD Fellows were a part of the first cohort of the program that specifically focused on female law enforcement officers in connection with the 30×30 Initiative, which aims to advance women in policing to 30% by the year 2030. Currently women make up 12% of police officers and 3% of police leadership nationwide.
The New Blue Fellowship is a year-long commitment where fellows discuss a variety of challenges and barriers within law enforcement, while working to identify solutions to facilitate reform from within in an effort to improve community relationships. The fellows have spent the past several months working with law enforcement professionals and social impact experts from across the country, sharing information and ideas to improve policing practices and policies in their respective communities. Members of the cohort represented numerous communities that included the Los Angeles, Charleston (S.C.), Madison (Wis.), Arizona State University, University of Texas and Evanston Police Departments.
The program offered the fellows an opportunity to travel abroad and gain insight on a global level from officers in the United Kingdom, and the U.K.-based organization Police Now. Fellows engaged in discussion and observation touching on key topics such as recruitment and training, community Importance, legitimacy, social Impact, emotional Intelligence, impact metrics, transforming and modernizing policing, the global impact of George Floyd’s murder, misogyny and racism within policing and the world and the impact of individual behavior on the global profession.
Through generous donations from various organizations across the country, this experience was funded by New Blue, whose main objectives are “networking, funding and skills to develop long-term solutions in policing.”
“New Blue has provided me with skills I can use to build better relationships within the Evanston community,” Griffith said. “I have also gained a solid network of strong like-minded, reform driven officers across the United States. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of New Blue.”
“My experience in London was eye opening to the work we do here in the states. It became evident that we are not working in silos and social ills of the world are universal, but culture plays a part. We work in a time where people are seeking validation, respect and love globally and we have to be innovative in our approaches to safety within our communities,” said Wilson.
“I’m grateful to New Blue for providing me with a platform to reimagine policing from within” Herrera said. “Police in London are going through many of the same challenges we are facing here. Change is needed and it gives me pride to be amongst a group of women who are serious about change for the better. It’s truly inspiring.”
The fellows will now return to finish up the year and work on a solution-based capstone project specific to the Evanston community.
The Evanston Police Department has been a leader in progressive and community-based policing practices for decades. “EPD is extremely proud of our New Blue Fellows, for their dedication and willingness to represent the department in an impactful way on a global platform and as they aim to positively reform policing from within. We are extremely grateful to New Blue for creating an avenue for our members to participate in such a tremendous opportunity,” said EPD Chief Schenita Stewart.
New Blue is currently recruiting officers from across the country for the 2023 cohort, which will also include male officers. The Evanston Police Department aims to have representation in the 2023 cohort and is extremely grateful to New Blue for creating an avenue for its members to participate.