Project Proposal Overview

Background & Project Justification

Currently, the town of Geneseo is in the process of pursuing a police reform initiative as detailed in the NYS Police Reform Executive Order given on June 12, 2020. Within this initiative, the town of Geneseo created a stakeholder group to examine current police issues, create a proposed reform plan, and to hold public forums to engage the public. After attending public forums and speaking with Mayor Margaret Duff, it became apparent that the town generally lacks funding in order to truly create long lasting systemic changes such as hiring mental health crisis counselors. However, this is a problem many small towns face. Lacking the funding and resources of big cities, small town America has been faced with the reality of the difficulty of engaging in deep, systemic change while lacking a foundation of monetary support.

One way some towns have solved these issues: partnering with local institutions. For example, in the town of Schenectady, NY the Schenectady Police Department (SPD) has partnered with the John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety to engage in work compiling community data, analyzing data on SPD operations, and assessing gained information using academic and scientific evidence surrounding police behaviors and management (Jessica, 2020). This partnership allows trained professionals in data collection and analysis to take on responsibilities towns and police departments may not have the staff, knowledge, or resources to fulfill.

While this may seem quite simple and straightforward, it takes time, energy, and resources to both identify and form partnerships with institutional stakeholders, something many small towns are of in short supply. Therefore, this project will intend to propose a way small towns, such as Geneseo, can increase communication channels, in turn increasing access to partners who can fulfill needs. The project proposal comprises of creating an official liaison position or team which will work as an intermediary source to locate campus partners, create community outreach and informational campaigns, and to host collaborative community dialogues.


Jessica, J. (2020, August 11). Institute to work with schenectady on reimagining policing. Retrieved March 26, 2021 from

Motivating Questions

  • How can small towns lacking resources and funding fulfill needs to engage in fruitful systemic change?
  • How can existing institutions and resources be gathered and connected to suit the needs of both partners?
  • How can community involvement and engagement be increased within government initiatives such as police reform? How can these partnerships, paired with change, be used to build trust?
  • How can community involvement be improved and transformed to ensure all community members feel welcome and heard?

Products & Deliverables

This project will attempt to increase community involvement and formulate community connections within both the police reform initiative and future calls for involvement in governmental and community based proceedings.

Forming an official internship position on campus for student liaisons who will work to: 

  • Spread awareness of town forums and different open meetings for students to attend by reaching out to existing organizations and resources (i.e. the Lamron, WGSU, Student Volunteerism and Community Engagement, etc.)
  • Coordinate with local government to find out needs, locate campus partners, and connect partners with government officials

Proposed Team Positions:

  • Campus Community Marketer
    • Identifies on-campus communication channels
    • Creates digital and print content to advertise public forums and inform public on vital information surrounding initiatives
  • Town Community Marketer
    • Identifies on-campus communication channels
    • Creates digital and print content to advertise public forums and inform public on vital information surrounding initiatives
  • Community Dialogue Liaison
    • Coordinates and plans community dialogues and forums
    • Hosts community dialogues to increase community involvement and engagement with different
    • Compiles and creates a short guidebook on how to hold forums in ways that can increase openness, cooperation, and honesty that can lead to fruitful change
    • Qualifications: would need to be trained as a DICE facilitator and have knowledge surrounding dialogue facilitation
  • Community Partner Coordinator
    • Identifies community partners who could provide needed services
    • Works closely with town to identify what resources and needs should be considered top priority
    • Coordinates action and communication between government stakeholder groups and institutional/community partners
    • Creates and upholds a detailed directory of community partners and services they can provide

Behavioral Outcomes

  • Increased involvement in public forums and open meetings (i.e. increased attendance) 
  • Enhanced communication practices between officials and community members (possibly measured by longitudinal surveys on community member opinions/feelings) 
  • Increased information accessibility (measured via website views, social media follower gains/interactions, participation in surveys, etc.) 
  • Increased access to different community partners who can provide resources the town can’t afford or gain funding to cover (i.e. community marketers, researchers for survey creation or data analysis, policy researchers, grant writers/funding researchers, etc.)
    • Long term → would hopefully lead to access/gaining of mental health counselors as well as other resources which could improve community-police interactions