Trujillo Links US-UK Police Relations through New Blue Program

December 05, 2022
Sherneka Cagle

Marissa Trujillo doesn’t typically travel far from home. Her favorite vacation spot is the Texas Hill Country. But this past October, a special opportunity meant that she had to get her passport ready for a much larger adventure. 

Sr. Detective Trujillo packed her bags and flew to England for ten days to meet with American police officers who were fellow New Blue Program cohorts. New Blue is a non-profit organization established in 2020 that focuses on police reform from within. 

Her journey with the New Blue Fellowship program began in the fall of 2021 when Trujillo was selected to participate in the program’s first cohort. The year-long commitment has had Trujillo involved in virtual team discussions on the challenges and barriers that exist within law enforcement. Fellows have spent time learning and working with law enforcement professionals and social impact experts from across the country, sharing information and ideas to improve policing practices and policies in their respective communities.  

“This experience has allowed me to gain a solid network of reform driven officers from across the United States,” Trujillo said. Members of her cohort represented numerous law enforcement agencies representing communities in Los Angeles; Charleston, South Carolina; Madison, Wisconsin; Evanston, Illinois; and Tempe, Arizona.  

Trujillo is also involved in the 30x30 Initiative, a national initiative aiming to increase representation of women in policing. 

The travel portion of the New Blue program offered the fellows an opportunity to gain insight from officers in the U.K. through the U.K.-based Police Now organization. During their visit abroad, the fellows engaged in discussions and observations regarding topics such as recruitment and training, community policing, social impact, emotional intelligence, and impact metrics. 

I’ve learned that the experiences regarding misogyny and racism are similar in the U.K. and U.S. However, programs like the 30x30 Initiative, Police Now and New Blue are working toward making a positive change by transforming and modernizing policing, said Trujillo. These organizations are aiding in police reform from within by being more involved with the communities we all serve and earning their trust.”  

While in the U.K., the fellows met with British police officers and heard firsthand of the impact George Floyd’s death had on policing across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and beyond, and the impact American policing has had there. For their part, the British officers also learned of the many challenges American law enforcement has faced due to protests and public pressure that were exposed with the death of Floyd and other police-involved deaths. Officers also discussed the lack of trust that both U.S. and U.K. citizens have toward law enforcement.  

“I’m so thankful for this experience and the ability to travel to the U.K. to meet my cohort,” Trujillo said. Relationships have been formed that will be long-lasting.”  

Having returned to their communities, the fellows are now focused on completing capstone projects, a component of their experience with New Blue that is designed to make a continuing impact to their organizations. 

Trujillo also recently made a presentation about her trip and fellowship experience to the Community Partnership Council. 

Trujillo’s capstone project focuses ways to increase female police recruit applicants and on increasing the number of qualified police officer applicants for the department. She will present her final project to her cohort in January 2023.  

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