To professionalize the emerging community engagement sector of policing by instituting an annual specialized training, networking, and professional development conference for sworn and non-sworn personnel assigned to community engagement roles within law enforcement agencies across the nation


MovementForward, Inc. (MFI), the Atlanta-based social change organization that hosts the acclaimed annual National Faith & Blue Weekend (Faith & Blue) and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), and other premier law enforcement organizations will convene the 2024 Professionalizing Law Enforcement–Community Engagement Training (PLECET) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, May 2-5, 2024. The conference will feature a premiere group of instructors, speakers, presenters, community leaders, scholars, researchers, and community engagement practitioners with proven successes.

Research has shown, and community members and law enforcement professionals agree, enhanced and expanded training for public safety personnel is needed to reduce crime, build trust, and enable successful police-community collaboration. Improved academy and in-service instruction addressing de-escalation, mental health, human trafficking, and opioid overdoses, among others, are already being implemented across the nation. As crime rates rise, communities and police also concur that strong community–law enforcement partnerships are increasingly requisite to public safety. Yet, there is a colossal lack of training and professional development opportunities for community engagement roles within the law enforcement profession. While many agencies participate in community outreach programming such as National Faith & Blue Weekend, Police Athletic Leagues, Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, Shop with a Cop, and citizen police academies, to name a few, there currently is no comprehensive law enforcement recruit or in-service training available for public safety professionals tasked with community engagement and outreach. This stands apart from how law enforcement professionals assigned to forensics, narcotics, school safety, fleet maintenance, investigations, hostage negotiation, public information, and other specialized functions all have targeted, unique training and networking opportunities through which they have access to best practices, peer support, industry expertise, and current research. Based upon tenants of Intergroup Contact Theory, the 2024 PLECET Conference will begin to “professionalize” the critical and highly specialized community engagement sector of the law enforcement profession. Designed for law enforcement personnel assigned to community engagement functions, the conference attendees will also include agency heads, researchers, municipal staff and officials, nonprofit representatives, communications professionals, and technologists.

During the PLECET Conference, public safety community engagement practitioners will learn about best and promising community outreach practices and resources that will help them excel in their jobs. Participants will also have the opportunity to formally and informally network with other law enforcement professionals working in similar roles across the nation, which will provide immediate and sustained professional development opportunities. The conference will utilize a standard workshop, caucus, and plenary structure with planned opportunities for networking. After an opening plenary session with prominent national leaders, each participant will take eight separate courses. The training will include workshops with an instructionally designed curriculum constructed to equip community engagement officers with best-in class competencies to maximize their potential impact in local communities. The conference will include a national town hall meeting focused on effectively utilizing community engagement to reduce crime and build trust. Local, state, and federal agencies throughout the United States will be invited to attend. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on-site daily and will be included with the no-cost conference registration. During the conference, a cohort of select law enforcement–community engagement professionals will convene for training, access to critical information, and networking. For more information, contact lecen@movementforward.org.

Every year MFI receives inquiries from law enforcement community engagement leads who are enthusiastic about holding community events but often lack sufficient knowhow to maximize the opportunity. While most agencies have good program concepts, many are void of the expertise, organizational capacity, and resources required to implement their ideas. Further, most agencies have not received any form of training on how to best engage with and involve community members, or how to promote their outreach programs, events, and ongoing activities. Others have successfully organized impactful events but lack the expertise to transform these activities into long-term and sustained strategic partnerships that reduce crime and increase mutual trust. These are just a few examples of the community engagement training gaps that will be addressed during the PLECET Conference.

For more information, please check out the 2024 PLECET National Conference prospectus.


U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
International Association of Chiefs of Police
Cops and Barbers Worldwide
Learning for Life
One Congregation One Precinct (OneCOP)
National Policing Institute

Stand Together Foundation

National Crime Prevention Council

Federal Bureau of Investigations

Equal Justice Institute

Researchers and Academics in Criminal Justice

Corporate and Business Entities
Communications Firms
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs

U.S. Department of Justice National Institute of Justice

Local, State, and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
National Sheriffs’ Association

Police Athletic Leagues

National Night Out
Shop with a Cop
Police Executive Research Forum

United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms 

Coffee with a Cop

National Policing Institute

International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators

U.S. Marshals Service