Cultural Vistas New Transatlantic Synergies: Philadelphia and Camden Collaborations (PACC) Examples for a Successful Cooperation of Police and Civil Society

Camden County Metro Police Chief Joe Wysocki raises a fist while marching with Camden residents and activists on May 30, 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Photo by April Saul/Camden, NJ: A Spirit Invincible

PACC is a one-week transatlantic visitor program. The participants are members of the Berlin Police Department and representatives of Berlin-based civil society organizations. The program takes place from October 16th to October 22nd, 2021, bringing the participants to Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. The program language is English. The program is  supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi)



To exemplify ways in which dialogue between security agencies and civil society organizations can strengthen mutual trust, overcome traditional prejudices, and prevent the risk of police and society becoming alienated. Perspectives from both police departments and civil society organizations who advise police departments will be considered.


A complete restructuring in 2012 turned the Camden Police Department into one of the most progressive and successful police departments in the U.S. Instrumental in this success story were not only the police but also local civil society organizations, who initiated community building and de-escalation measures. The collaboration resulted in a sharp drop of crime rates as well as a striking reduction of police shootings. In addition, it made the work of the police safer and more effective, while improving community collaboration and civil society trust. Former president Barack Obama called Camden a model for police reform during a 2015 visit.


The participants will visit Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA for five days, following a one-day preparatory seminar in Berlin. The program will analyze police reforms and initiatives aimed at building trust between police departments and the communities they represent. Through a series of visits (e.g., the Camden and Philadelphia Police Departments, civil society organizations, and local neighborhood initiatives), workshops, presentations, and discussions with experts from third sector organizations and law enforcement in the two cities, participants will learn best practices and effective techniques for successful collaborations between the police and the public.


Using the inspirations and expertise gained during the program, participants are expected to devise practical approaches and develop action plans with the concrete goal of applying the lessons learned in their work in Berlin. The program experiences and action plans shall be shared with a larger audience within the participants’ professional network in Berlin through presentations and other events, thereby further contributing to the successful implementation. In addition, the participants are encouraged to continue the dialog and maintain an expert network with their counterparts in the U.S.

Program Timeline

  • Monday, October 11 OR Tuesday, October 12: Pre-Departure Meeting of all participants and Cultural Vistas staff
  • Saturday, October 16: Departure from Berlin
  • Sunday, October 17: Cultural program activities in Philadelphia
  • Starting Monday, October 18: Professional visits and meetings in Camden and Philadelphia
  • Friday, October 22: Departure from Philadelphia
  • Saturday, October 23: Arrival in Berlin
  • Early and mid-November: Post-program reflections on best practices and developing action plans for the practical application in the field
  • Late November: Presentations within professional networks and/or publications in (social) media to share the information with a larger audience
The program is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany, funded by the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi)