Webinar: Law Enforcement Through Restorative Justice: Peacebuilding in the community

When: -

Host: Kurt Boshart and Vanessa Westley

This course has been postponed to late fall (2017) or early winter (2018). Please check back again at that time for ways to register.

This six part course is an introduction into restorative justice with an emphasis on its applications in law enforcement. Participants will explore innovative ways to incorporate restorative justice within an agency, and to collaborate with community organizations on such initiatives. Through presentations and interactive discussions, examples of implementation in police agencies throughout the United States will be showcased. Some of these will include:

  • An alternative to, or within, the criminal justice system
  • Citizen complaints
  • Internal conflict and
  • Community engagement.

Restorative justice is often referred to as “the missing piece in law enforcement”. You will learn why police chiefs around the country have been utilizing or are incorporating restorative justice as an option within their organization. From victim advocacy, to offender accountability, restorative justice provides many benefits to an entire community. For example, police departments experience a high rates of victim satisfaction, community engagement, and reduction in offender recidivism which ultimately result in procedural justice and police legitimacy. Criminal justice practitioners, law enforcement agency directors, command level officers and those working in the field will benefit from this series.

The course is intended for people working in or associated with law enforcement agencies, from Chiefs to line officers. The series shall begin on Wednesday June 28 and recur on a weekly basis for six sessions that will last 90 minutes each.
Total cost is $99 for all six classes.

Guest Bios

Officer Vanessa Westley is a twenty-five year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.  She has served in various positions within the Department’s Patrol Division and other units.  She began her service in Community Policing in 2004 under now-retired First Deputy Dana V. Starks, as project manager in the Department’s CAPS Project Office.  She later served as project manager for the Mayor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Partnerships.  Currently she is the program manager for the Chicago Police Department’s and the Metro YMCA’s “Bridging the Divide” program.  She is the special projects coordinator for the CAPS Revitalization effort launched in 2013.  She leads the community engagement training program for the Department through DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education.  Vanessa is a Restorative Justice and Art of Hosting practitioner and trainer.

Lieutenant Kurt Boshart has over 28 years of experience in law enforcement. He started his career as a patrol officer with the Harrisonburg Police Department in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In that time, he rose through the ranks in the profession serving as an instructor, investigator, division commander for patrol, crime prevention, support services, special operations, various supervisory roles and also as a public speaker. For the past three years, he has served as administrative Lieutenant/Commander, working directly for the Chief of Police responsible for policy, budget preparation and executive leadership.

Lieutenant Boshart spent a number of years as instructor at the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in areas of drug investigation and undercover operations. He also oversaw investigations on narcotics. He was also an instructor for the Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys Association at the prosecutorial and investigator drug training program “Top Gun” at the College of William and Mary. During this time in his career Lieutenant Boshart was certified as an expert witness in Juvenile courts, District and Circuit Courts throughout the Commonwealth and also in the United Stated Federal Court of the Western District in the topics of drug trafficking trends.

Boshart graduated from the Central Shenandoah Criminal justice Academy, Virginia Institute for Leadership in Changing Times and in 2013, he graduated from the 130th Administrative Officers Course through the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville. In 2014, Boshart attended the Summer Peace Building Institute at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and is currently enrolled in the graduate program in Restorative Justice through the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU.

Since 2013, Lieutenant Boshart has led the Harrisonburg Police Department in a collaborative Restorative Justice Initiative providing citizens an alternative solution to the criminal justice system, while giving officers an opportunity to repair harms and mend relationships within the community. Through this program, Boshart has met with delegations from Nepal, Judges from Brazil and law enforcement leaders from around the country. He continues to speak with many groups upon request and works with communities across the U.S.