BU Today: MetroBridge GRS Course Aims to Help Reshape Community Policing in Lynn

From BU Today: Spencer Piston’s Race at the Center of U.S. Politics students helped the city work to implement a civilian emergency response team

Read the full article on BU Today written by Alene Bouranova

Lynn, Mass., made headlines in the summer of 2020 when Thomas McGee, then the city’s mayor, allocated $25,000 to the community organization Lynn Racial Justice Coalition (LRJC) to study creating an alternative to policing. The study, commissioned following nationwide protests in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, was to explore the logistics of establishing an unarmed crisis response team to address emergency situations—such as individuals experiencing mental health crises—that police officers aren’t trained to address.

That crisis response team would eventually be named the All Lynn Emergency Response Team (ALERT). In 2022, a Boston University class joined the effort to bring it to life.

As part of BU’s MetroBridge Program, a learning program that combines real-world community projects with coursework, students in the Race at the Center of U.S. Politics course, taught by Spencer Piston, a College of Arts and Sciences associate professor of political science, spent this spring semester working to help Lynn and the LRJC shape the would-be response team.

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