FRAMINGHAM, MA — Over 200 participants gathered in Framingham on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 for the inaugural People of Color in Criminal Justice (POCCJ) Conference.
The conference, co-hosted by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and Framingham State University, was the first of its kind to be held in Massachusetts with the goal of beginning a candid and constructive dialogue within law enforcement of issues unique to people of color in the criminal justice field. A specific focus was placed on recruiting, retaining and maintaining inclusive and diverse workforces.
“As we strive to ensure our workforce resembles and meets the needs of the population we are charged with serving and protecting, this conference was an important step toward accomplishing those critical goals,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “I am grateful to our partners, presenters and all the participants who lent their time and voices to this dialogue.”
“The University was honored to work with Sheriff Koutoujian and his team on this important conference,” said Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “We hope it will serve as a model for the region and lead to more productive collaborations around these issues.”
Tuesday’s conference featured morning remarks from former Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) Secretary Andrea Cabral and an afternoon keynote from Dr. Lorenzo Boyd, Chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Natick Police Chief James HicksConference workshops were led by a diverse group of presenters including Natick Police Chief James Hicks and Lowell District Court Senior Probation Officer Thel Sar, who discussed inclusionary leadership, and members of the Lowell Police Department and Lowell Community Health Center’s Teen Block, who discussed building trust with communities of color. They also included a panel discussion with Dr. Boyd, U.S. Marshal John Gibbons, FSU Professor Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, and Boston Police Captain Kenneth Fong on how data can be used to allow for strengthened community/law enforcement relations. Additionally, representatives from Framingham State University, Massachusetts Department of Correction, and Elms College spoke on navigating careers in criminal justice.
In addition to members of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and Framingham State University, the conference’s steering committee included representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Massachusetts Latino Police Officers Association, Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Dorchester District Court, and the Boston Police Department.
(NOTE: The above press release is from Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.)
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