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Reimaging public safety and police reform

The New York University School of Law Policing Project


The New York University School of Law Policing Project (NYUPP) partners with both communities and law enforcement to advocate for transparency, equity and democratic engagement in public safety. Throughout our more than six-year partnership with NYUPP, Spitfire has provided expert communication counsel and implementation support to raise the visibility and reach of NYUPP’s work. Spitfire has provided everything from proactive and reactive media outreach to responsive strategy that laid the groundwork for NYUPP’s policy, legal and legislative work. Through our partnership, NYUPP has become among the leading voices for both press and the movement on reimagining public safety.

NYUPP first brought Spitfire on board to raise visibility on a first-of-its-kind comment period on the New York Police Department’s body-worn camera policy.  

As the policing landscape shifted, in much part thanks to the work of NYUPP and its partners, we worked with NYUPP on the next frontier of public safety that was dominating the narrative: alternative first response. In that work, we simultaneously developed NYUPP’s external media strategy while building the internal infrastructure needed to support it all with the goal of shifting public narrative and perception on public safety and first response, working with the organization to launch its Reimagining Public Safety initiative. This included drafting messaging, creating a website, building relationships, and identifying creative tactics like reporter roundtables and opportunities to attend NYUPP’s milestone annual convening on first response to get in front of reporters who were misrepresenting (however unintentionally) first response and public safety in their reporting.

We designed and executed a series of monthly webinars to bring NYUPP’s partners along on the rapidly shifting landscape, including one that featured the Los Angeles Police Department commissioner who spoke in support of alternative response models. 

 As a newer organization, NYUPP also needed support establishing and aligning on becoming an effective communicating organization and developing internal structures to support that growth. We identified barriers in NYUPP’s internal processes and communications and developed new systems to streamline, educate and communicate the different needed processes, depending on the task. As such, we created templates and workflows that supported multistep outputs and a project management system that enabled the communications team and project teams to have visibility across all the activities and deliverables coming out of the organization. Using these pieces created visibility between the communications team and leadership, which was crucial to the efficient and effective execution of each department's priorities. We also provided capacity-building opportunities and skills building for staff, which ultimately led to the promotion of a communications team member to communications director.   

Our partnership with NYUPP has leveraged the dominant narrative on public safety to get NYUPP into the conversation and a seat at the table and has provided them with the internal skills and infrastructure to continue to do so. We continue working with NYUPP today on everything from regular skills building and media trainings to looking at possibilities for a new name and brand identity.

Spitfire services employed


Campaign creation

Communication planning and execution

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Issues Covered

Criminal legal reform