NLC Assembles Task Force of Local Leaders to Reimagine Public Safety in Communities Across the U.S.

February 16, 2021 - (4 min read)

WASHINGTON – The National League of Cities (NLC), the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to helping local leaders build better communities, has convened a task force of mayors and councilmembers from across the country to reimagine how they ensure public safety in their communities.

Amid the multitude of challenges that cities, towns and villages faced in 2020 were calls to rethink and re-envision public safety in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of local law enforcement.

“Government can always improve the services it provides, and that includes public safety,” said Task Force co-chair Mayor David Holt of the City of Oklahoma City. “Nearly every community has been challenged this past year to evaluate its public safety functions, and every community will ultimately develop its own answers to the questions that have been raised. This task force will explore a menu of innovations being attempted around the country. The process will certainly benefit the task force participants, but the end product will also be meaningful to every NLC member.”

“Some members of the Task Force may want to re-allocate money from public safety budgets while others are just starting to think about their next steps as it relates to their community’s public safety systems,” said Task Force co-chair Mayor Ras Baraka of the City of Newark. “The Task Force will serve as a space where local leaders can have an open dialogue and learn how we can collectively support other municipal leaders in meeting their objectives when it comes to achieving public safety.”

Members were invited to join the Task Force because of their demonstrated commitment in reimagining public safety in their communities and to help ensure representation from a wide range of viewpoints, locations and community sizes.

“Local governments have responded in various ways to calls to defund, reform and dismantle criminal justice systems while pursuing justice and equity for all their residents,” said NLC Executive Director and CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “The National League of Cities recognizes the opportunity to spotlight local actions and innovations from municipal leaders who are at the front lines of these and other important issues.”

By the end of its engagement, the Task Force will provide actionable steps for municipal leaders to take on areas such as alternative and innovative response, violence prevention and reduction, jail use reduction, law enforcement reform and accountability, public safety budgets and most importantly, racial equity and community engagement.

The Task Force will work to:

  • Set out a 21st-century public safety agenda for America’s communities;
  • Highlight promising public safety and justice reform practices in municipalities and identify key areas for improvement and opportunities to scale;
  • Amplify the voices of local leaders in justice reform and public safety.

Effective movement toward equity in public safety will require the engagement of subject matter experts utilizing national data and research in addition those with on-the-ground experience. To this end, the Task Force will work with partners in both the non-profit and private sectors. Member leaders will learn from one another and national experts including the Vera Institute of Justice, Urban Institute, Cities United and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The work of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force is supported by the Safety and Justice Challenge of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


  • Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark, NJ
  • Mayor David Holt, Oklahoma City, OK


  • Councilmember Jay H. Banks, New Orleans, LA
  • Deputy Mayor Keith Blocker, Tacoma, WA
  • Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Councilmember Joe Buscaino, National League of Cities Immediate Past President, Los Angeles
  • Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham, Minneapolis, MN
  • Cameron Diehl, State League Director, Utah Leah of Cities and Towns
  • Mayor John Engen, Missoula, MT
  • Councilmember Nikki Fortunato-Bas, Oakland, CA
  • Councilmember Jamie R. Gauthier, Philadelphia, PA
  • Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque, NM
  • Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Milwaukee, WI
  • Councilmember Janeese Lewis-George, Washington DC
  • City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot, Rochester, NY
  • Mayor D. Love, Centerville, MN
  • Mayor Gene McGee, Ridgeland, MS
  • City Council President Aidee Nieves, Bridgeport, CT
  • Mayor Steven Reed, Montgomery, AL
  • Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy, Columbus, OH
  • Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Los Angeles, CA
  • Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Baltimore, MD
  • Councilmember Linda Thompson, Spokane Valley, WA
  • Mayor Vince Williams, National League of Cities First Vice President, Union City, GA
  • Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, Birmingham, AL


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.