The Coalition to Re-Envision Our Safety, which includes Eastern Michigan University professor, awarded $50,000 United Way grant to support the implementation of unarmed, non-police crisis response program

YPSILANTI – A coalition including Kevin Karpiak, director of Eastern Michigan University's Southeast Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Research Project (SMART), received a $50,000 grant from United Way of Washtenaw County to develop an alternative unarmed non-police response program in Ann Arbor. 

The Coalition to Re-Envision Our Safety (CROS) is a multiracial diverse coalition of faith leaders, social workers, therapists, public health and healthcare workers, researchers, community builders, racial, justice organizers and activists who care deeply about transformative justice and building care-based safety throughout communities in a way that is community-led, evidence-based, and progressive. 

“In the wake of public reassessments, over the last few years, of how we provide and administer public safety, many municipalities are exploring new and creative ways to provide care and safety that do not pass through the traditional mechanisms of the criminal justice system,” said Kevin Karpiak, professor of sociology, anthropology and criminology at EMU and director of SMART.  “Among these innovations are ‘alternative response’ or ‘unarmed non-police response’ programs.”

The coalition developed a plan in response to a resolution Ann Arbor City Council passed in April 2021, directing the city administrator to create an unarmed public safety response program. Since then, Ann Arbor has committed $3.5 million toward developing an alternative response program. The support offered by the United Way will allow CROS & SMART to prepare for this implementation.

United Way is engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide and focuses on creating community-based and community-led solutions that strengthen the cornerstones for a good quality of life: education, financial stability and health.

This project is part of a series of engagements involving SMART to help facilitate community-led initiatives throughout the region.  Other initiatives include collaborations with the Ann Arbor Police Department and Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Association, and the Eastern Michigan University Public Safety Oversight Committee. 

“What’s exciting about the work that CROS is doing, and why I’m so happy to be a part of it, is that it’s a real opportunity for Washtenaw County to be a national leader on these issues,” said Karpiak. “We’re showing the benefits of directing the resources and expertise of higher education into community-led efforts to address contemporary challenges.”

For more information about CROS or to learn more about their upcoming progress toward the launch of the unarmed non-police response program, visit their website.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

July 13, 2022

Written by:
Brittany Mobley

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley