Fellowship Openings

Piloting Community Policing Strategies to Build Safer Communities (CLOSED)

Project: Piloting Community Policing Strategies to Build Safer Communities

Agency: Pittsburgh Bureau of Police

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Project Context

Though the City of Pittsburgh has experienced a significant drop in violent crime over the last decade, crime rates have varied across neighborhoods. The eighteen neighborhoods that comprise the City’s Northside continue to experience steady rates of 911 calls, arrests and incidents of violent crime. A September 2017 report from the Crime Analysis Unit within the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police (PBP) states, “The crime rate in Zone 1 seems to be plateauing, not decreasing over time like in other Police Zones.” This gap in outcomes has not gone unnoticed by Zone 1 residents, and on-going threats to public safety have bred a general sense of fear and deep mistrust of authorities that has left many residents less likely to engage with public institutions.

In 2015, the Buhl Foundation conducted a One Northside Community Census, as part of a comprehensive resident-driven initiative for community development focused on five pillars of safety, health, employment, place, and education. During that process residents identified “Crime, Drugs, and Violence” as the number one issue that they’d like to see addressed in the Northside – with 790 respondents selecting that issue. The second most popular issue received less than 200 votes. PBP recognizes that a sincere and broad-based community engagement effort is necessary to both address persistent crime and rebuild trust within the community. As a result, PBP has initiated a series of pilot projects to test out new methods of community-oriented policing. One such pilot is the hiring of neighborhood resource officers, who are assigned to specific neighborhoods with the goal of getting to know residents and earning their trust by proactively tackling neighborhood problems. Another pilot is the Diversion project, that was developed in collaboration with local organizations including Foundation of HOPE, the Buhl Foundation and the District Attorney’s office, giving police officers flexibility to refer youth to social service providers in cases of minor or non-violent offenses.

PBP was recently approached by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) to administer a community-policing informed strategy for Northview Heights and Allegheny Dwellings, two public housing projects overseen by HACP in Zone 1. Funding from HACP would cover the costs of dedicated PBP support for these housing developments. In return, PBP has the opportunity to pilot a targeted community-policing strategy that, if successful, could be adapted and applied across Zone 1 and even inform a City-wide approach. Success could catapult Pittsburgh into the forefront of ambitious community-oriented policing strategies, while making significant reductions in crime. Most importantly, this work can begin repairing the long-fraught relationships between the City’s police and most vulnerable residents. To support this work, the City of Pittsburgh will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will manage the pilot and engage partner organization and neighborhoods residents around its implementation.

Project Summary & Potential Deliverables

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will begin his or her work by developing a robust strategy for aligning current PBP and community initiatives under an implementation plan for the Northview Heights and Allegheny Dwelling pilot and ensuring that each stakeholder understands their roles and responsibilities. The Fellow should also undertake a review of national best practices in community policing to introduce new ideas and help bolster the implementation plan.

This role is centered around the FUSE Fellow’s ability to develop partnerships, and will require significant commitment, emotional resilience, maturity and the professionalism to work with a range of diverse audiences including low-income residents, police officers, non-profit employees, foundation leadership, and elected officials.

  • Implement and Oversee Pilot: Manage the day-to-day implementation of the Zone 1 Police sub-station at Northview Heights; Support the Commander and Sergeant in Charge in engaging residents in non-law enforcement activities to build trust and reconciliation; Maintain strong support and buy-in for the initiative through communication with and engagement of internal and external stakeholders. Explore the creation of positive incentives for officers to practice pro-active public safety supports. Evaluate how issues like overtime pay and arrests, for example, could be used to incentivize productive community relationships. Incorporate best practices from other vanguard cities into the Northview Heights and Allegheny Dwellings implementation plan.
  • Facilitate Community Engagement: Develop and manage training opportunities and community programming for both residents and Zone 1 officers to improve community/police relations; Establish a functional Public Safety Council which facilitates regular dialogue between residents and police; Create and implement an assessment tool to gauge resident opinions about the pilot and provide opportunity for feedback in a transparent manner; Work closely with Zone 1 Police, City of Pittsburgh Public Safety staff, One Northside representatives, and community residents to monitor and respond to all concerns over the course of project implementation.
  • Develop Assessment and Long Term Sustainability Plan: Complete a cost-benefit analysis of resources expended on the pilot project and present the economic case for expanding community-policing strategies, helping to inform Police Bureau and Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh resource and officer allocations across the City. Develop assessment and evaluation measures for success of the effort that can used by the Fellow, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority, and partner organizations in the longer term.

Key Stakeholders

  • Chris Ragland, Commander of Zone 1, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
  • Anna Kudrav, Assistant Chief, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
  • Joe Lewis, Sergeant, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
  • Joy Pekar-Miller, Director of Public Safety, Housing Authority of Pittsburgh
  • Diana Bucco, President, The Buhl Foundation
  • Daniel Barrett, Program Officer, The Buhl Foundation
  • Jeff Williams, Diversion Program Director, Foundation of HOPE
  • Jody Raeford, Executive Director, Foundation of HOPE
  • Paul Abernathy, Executive Director, FOCUS Pittsburgh


  • At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a background in coalition building, social work, community organizing, and/or collective impact campaigns. Understanding of community oriented policing models preferred, but not required.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
  • Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
  • Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.

 To Apply 

Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.

A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on September 24, 2018 and ends September 20th, 2019.

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.