Company Profile: Serve & Connect
Serve & Connect, located in Columbia, South Carolina, operates as more than just a nonprofit — it embodies a heartfelt mission. Addressing the crucial social challenge of repairing connections between police and communities, the organization actively pursues its mission since 2018.
Origins trace back to a profound personal tragedy that spurred the founder, whose dedicated police officer husband lost his life in the line of duty, to bring about change. This tragedy became the inspiration for Serve & Connect, turning pain into purpose.
Serve & Connect envisions a distinct pathway — one where collaboration between police officers and community members achieves shared goals. The organization establishes open communication spaces to nurture trust, understanding, and respect, facilitating the development of authentic relationships between policing agencies and communities. This approach enables the police and the community to unite effectively.
What sets Serve & Connect apart is its commitment to building partnerships and employing community policing strategies. This unique focus aims to address the root causes of crime and promote safety, encouraging an environment where everyone works towards a common goal.
The Challenge: Capacity, Trust & Motivation
In the effort to strengthen police and community relationships, Serve & Connect faced similar organizational readiness challenges as any other business sector. Trust, capacity, and motivation were identified as the main challenges. These challenges, though common, carried unique weight due to the historical lack of trust between the police and marginalized communities. Relationship building and the creation of open conversation where the police and community could build understanding, trust and respect, were one of the fundamental aspects to address. Community policing, being an evidence-based approach with established best practices, often faces misunderstanding. The challenges lie in the effective implementation of these practices. Serve & Connect needed a tool to enhance their capacity to implement best practices and build partnerships between police agencies and the community to overcome challenges.
The Solution: Organizational Readiness Assessment & Tools
Dawn Chorus Group’s know-how in organizational readiness perfectly matched Serve & Connect’s mission, stemming from a shared history and a vision to apply research-based practices in real-life. Dawn Chorus provided assistance in the following ways:
1. Assessments: Dawn Chorus introduced organizational readiness assessments, identifying areas for improvement and highlighting the policing agencies’ strengths which they could build on to strengthen community policing best practices.
2. Data Analysis: The data derived from these assessments offered actionable insights, empowering partnerships and improving readiness for meaningful change.
3. Implementation: Dawn Chorus played a vital role in navigating the intricate terrain of police-community partnerships, proving invaluable in progressing the organization’s mission.
The Results: Bridging the Gap Between Police & Community
The introduction of organizational readiness processes at police agencies proved to be a deciding moment, resulting in positive changes for both the community and community policing. Serve & Connect witnessed a significant improvement in its growth trajectory, in particular increased support for police officers.
Organizational readiness measures reinforced a culture of community policing, breathing new life into the mission to bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities with tangible results like:
- The Greg’s groceries project was launched in 2017 (before the Serve & Connect launch) when two police departments packed 50 boxes of perishable food for distribution to those in need. Fast forward to 2022, when 75 police agencies packed and distributed almost 5000 boxes! This initiative has proven that collaboration between the police and the community is possible – and that organizational readiness enhances that collaboration.
- With an organizational readiness approach which involved a collaborative discussion between partners, a successful mental health program was launched. The program unites community and law enforcement around a common goal, enabling them to not only measure their readiness to work together, but also to improve outcomes and celebrate their accomplishments.
The Impact: Continuous Improvement in Police-Community Relationships
As Kassy Alia Ray, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Serve & Connect notes, “Dawn Chorus Group’s approach to applying organizational readiness principles to real-world challenges was a game-changer.” The impact of organizational readiness at policing agencies went beyond internal procedures. It led to a broad change, greatly improving the experiences of police officers and community members. Using organizational readiness, project partners were provided with something tangible to celebrate and work toward in the long term. This, in turn, empowered local movements to address big challenges, as well as create a culture of community policing not only in a local area but across the entire state. Serve & Connect was able to accomplish its goals and mission, which is to assist police and citizens to create a safe and sustainable environment for everyone.
The Future: Collaboration Towards Shared Goals
It is Serve & Connect ‘s belief that police and citizens have the same goals, which are to love and protect all children, providing a pathway where they can thrive – and that everyone should work together to achieve those goals. Using organizational readiness as a tool helps translate the shared desire into tangible action, creating safer communities by addressing causes of crime through community policing and police agency partnerships.
Dawn Chorus Group serves as a crucial partner for Serve & Connect as both organizations share a common vision: translating research-based practices into real-world applications. As they look towards the future as partners in this shared goal, they remain steadfast in their commitment to improving police-community partnerships.
Contact Dawn Chorus Group to learn more about how assessing and enhancing your organization’s readiness can further your mission and goals.