Anywhere, USA / Chapter 3

Chapter 3: At first: a great idea that doesn’t go so great

So there’s the police department, court, prosecutor office on the one hand–let’s call this body of power the “agency.” And then there’s the people the agency represents, who have come together to form a Community Advisory Board, or CAB.

Here is the latest: the agency wants to be transparent. It also doesn’t want to look bad. In truth, this is the kind of internal conflict most of us experience every day. Meanwhile, the CAB isn’t entirely comfortable working with the agency – there’s little trust there.

But they come together to talk about what matters to the community–what they most want to know.

Sometimes the discussions are fraught. Rich with accusations. Or just polite to the point of being suspect.

The work is hard–the march towards transparency and accountability is strewn with obstacles. The CAB loses faith in collaborating with the agency, and several members leave. The CAB isn’t active enough. It is too active. The agency has other priorities. Everyone is nervous.