Justice Today

The 54th Mile Project

April 06, 2023 Bureau of Justice Assistance Season 2 Episode 1
The 54th Mile Project
Justice Today
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Justice Today
The 54th Mile Project
Apr 06, 2023 Season 2 Episode 1
Bureau of Justice Assistance

During this episode, three Black law enforcement leaders discuss why they walked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—retracing the route of a famous 1965 civil rights march—and how their journey changed their professional and personal lives.

Show Notes Transcript

During this episode, three Black law enforcement leaders discuss why they walked 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama—retracing the route of a famous 1965 civil rights march—and how their journey changed their professional and personal lives.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Welcome to "Justice Today," the official podcast of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, OJP, where we shine a light on cutting-edge research and practices and offer an in-depth look at what we're doing to meet the biggest public safety challenges of our time. Join us as we explore how funding, science, and technology help us achieve strong communities.

I'm your host Karen Friedman, the Director of Criminal Justice Innovation Development and Engagement at OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, otherwise known as BJA.

More than two years ago, in the heat of an Alabama summer, three friends set out on a 54-mile hike from the small town of Selma to the state capital of Montgomery. They made it there in three days, but the unlikely journey they started then is still underway.

The trio undertook their walk as something of a spiritual quest. They were retracing the route of an historic 1965 civil rights march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It began with the infamous Bloody Sunday confrontation on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Alabama law enforcement officers savagely assaulted thousands of peaceful protestors There, a young activist named John Lewis, who would go on to a celebrated career in Congress, was beaten and sustained a fractured skull.

But for these three, the walk was about much more than history. All were men in their 40’s who had risen to influential positions in law enforcement. All were confronting the national uproar that had begun a few months earlier with the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. And all three were Black. By the time they arrived in Montgomery, they had begun imagining what they would later call the 54th Mile Project.

Today, working with the National Policing Institute and supported by funding from BJA, they are building a training program that will help law enforcement agencies across the country better serve and protect communities of color. The program will draw on their decades of law enforcement experience and the inspiration they found on the path from Selma to Montgomery.

We are very pleased and excited to have with us today the founders of the 54th Mile Project:

  • Shon F. Barnes, Chief of Police in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Obed Magny, CEO of Magny Leadership from Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Tarrick McGuire, Assistant Chief of Police in Arlington, Texas.

We are so happy to have all of you today on "Justice Today" podcast.

You gentlemen, you have a lot in common but you also live in three different time zones and actually have never worked together. How did you all meet and where did the idea for the walk come from?

SHON BARNES: We all met as part of the National Institute of Justice LEADS Scholars Program. That program stands for Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science. It's a program for mid-level executives and police departments who believe that through evidence-based policing and problem-oriented policing, we can better the profession. So, we're all in different classes, if you will. There's usually one cohort every year. And we just met at annual conferences and began to talk and realized that we really had a lot in common.

We were all African-American men, black men in law enforcement. We're all kind of going through some of the same things, seeing some of the same things. But most importantly, we all had the same definition of justice, and that definition really extends to everyone that we serve. We wanted to see our communities and the communities that we serve improve. We all wanted to see the police officers that we're responsible for be safe. Most importantly, we all wanted to implement innovative and evidence-based policing strategies in order to do two things: reduce crime in the areas that we're working and to improve the satisfaction with police services in the areas that we're responsible for.

The idea came for the walk from Tarrick. I believe he had it in his mind first.

TARRICK McGUIRE: You know, it's amazing the opportunities that you have in this profession to meet people from around the country, people that are like-minded. In 2016, I had an opportunity to meet these gentlemen. I was a Policing Fellow at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). What that fellowship involved was an opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for a year and work on police reform issues. When I went in 2016, the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing had been finalized, and IACP was working with the Department of Justice to implement the 21st Century Policing pillars throughout the United States.

During that time, I was talking about how we bridge the gap between police and community. And after that experience was over in Washington, the idea of bridging the gap really stuck with me. And I was thinking, "Now, what does it mean?" When you think about a bridge, a bridge represents something that connects where there are two vast points. And what is the most infamous bridge that we've known in our history in America? For me, that was what happened in Selma.

So, I traveled to Selma, and I stood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and I took in what history had taught us to propel us into our future. And during that time, I had a vision that in order for me to really understand and take in what "bridging the gap" meant, I needed to walk the 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery. And who better to reach out to than two like-minded individuals--Shon Barnes and Obed Magny? And, so, that's really where the idea started.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Amazing. Obed?

OBED MAGNY: These two distinguished brothers and I, when we were in the LEADS Scholars Program, we had conversations about we had to do something, we had to create something, we had to leave a legacy. We didn't know what that was gonna look like in the future where we are today, but when we had this discussion, we knew that there were issues with community trust and police. And individually and collectively, we have a platform. We felt that responsibility to use our platform for something good.

I can actually remember when we had this conversation. We were all at a table with a colleague of ours, Maureen McGough. Shout out to Maureen McGough if she's listening. One of the other LEADS Scholars was coming down the escalator and saw us at a table, and it looked like it was a pretty intense meeting, and she took a picture of it and shared it with us. I knew when I saw that photo that something monumental was gonna take place.

When Tarrick shared that story about him being on the Edmund Pettus Bridge and how he was moved by that, we knew that using the bridge metaphor we had to create something. I mean, the three of us have our doctorate degrees. We all have something unique that we bring to the table, something of substance that we bring to the table. So, we had to do something, and this idea came up, and it was too much of a no-brainer to not get involved. I obviously jumped in with two feet. I'm glad that we got this journey started.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: I'm trying to imagine the conversations when you explain to your colleagues and your families that you were taking time off to go with a couple of buddies on a hike 50 miles across Alabama in the middle of the summer. How did those conversations go over?

OBED MAGNY: Obviously, people thought, "You're gonna do what? You're gonna walk how many miles? Uh, OK." But when you get to know myself personally, when you get to know Shon, and when you get to know Tarrick, you'll understand that we're big thinkers and we're more action-oriented. We're all about solutions. So, after the first three seconds of, "What? That sounds crazy!” you know, it becomes, “Of course you would do something like this.” It's for a greater cause. And people were excited to see what was gonna come from this.


SHON BARNES: You know, there's a buddy comedy in this. Normally, buddy comedies are like two people. But there's three of us, and we're all totally different. When it was first pitched to me and I had those conversations, I was the friend that was like, "Yeah, I'll make it to your birthday party," but never asks you when and where. 'Cause I know I'm not comin'.


SHON BARNES: I'm from the South. I'm from North Carolina originally, so I'm very much familiar with what the sun feels like in August. And I just saw Alabama as being even deeper than that. So, I had conversations with my family and friends about what I wanted to do. And it was more kind of like lukewarm. You know, Obed was all in. Tarrick, he was planning and being the tactician that he is. Me, I'm more, "OK, let's see which way the wind blows first."


SHON BARNES: But you know what? George Floyd happened. And I remember the day that both Obed and Tarrick called me and said, "Have you seen this video?" In full transparency, I was like many Americans, busy with my day-to-day and had not taken the time to even look at it. But when I sat down and actually took some time to look at it, I knew that what Tarrick had planned previously was indeed needed. And there's no one who is a police executive who saw that video who believed you didn't have a responsibility to do something or to make some type of stance.

Our walk wasn't about a protest. It was about our opportunity to leave a legacy so that people understand that we're committed to understanding and hearing the voice of our community. Once I explained that to my family and friends, they were like, "OK, whatever support you need, you have it from us. Just be safe because not everyone feels the same way that you feel."

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Let's talk about the actual walk a little bit. I'm curious about what kind of reception you got along the way. You're three black men walking a long distance along some of Alabama's busiest highways. Did you get ignored? Were people curious? Did people stop and talk to you? Did you tell people what you were doing, and how did they respond?

TARRICK McGUIRE: We had talked about doing this walk two years earlier, and what happened was Covid. What happened was civil unrest. If I take a step back, in 2016, when I went to Selma and I was standing on the bridge, people were just driving across. It was their day-to-day life. And, so, standing there, I was thinking, "Man, this is such a monumental space. But for people that live there locally, it's just a thoroughfare, right?" It's a point that connects people going across the Alabama River.

So, when Shon, Obed, and I arrived in Selma, I think it's really important to note that we were there to first learn about the community. We went to the local church. We met with the pastor there. We kind of walked around. We visited the museum. We really wanted to be inundated and understand not only the moment that we were standing there but to also understand the community and their perspectives.

As we began to walk, there were a variety of responses from people. As you noted, we were in the South. Just because we were in the South did not mean that we were going to face negativity, but we were able to gain a perspective. Walking along the roadway where there was a path at times, where there was a median at times, where the median went away and you were walking directly into traffic, we were able to understand what America looked like. We were able to re-engage in the values that we represent as police executives.

When you're walking multiple days, you're seeing the same people that are passing by you because they're traveling back and forth to work. They don't know who you are, but they know that you're going somewhere. They began to stop on the side of the road and engage with us in conversation and want to understand who we were and what we were doing there. As we were able to explain and express that to them, it allowed us more to know the perspective of bridging the gap, what that really meant. People shared their perspectives. They were offering us help--food and water. For me, it redefined what our democracy means and redefines what our country means as an American.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: That's beautiful. Obed.

OBED MAGNY: Overall, it was very, very positive. We would get up at 4:30, 4:00 in the morning, and we'd hit the road. And people who would be going to work in the morning would see us, they would drive by us. And those same people, in the afternoon when they're on their way home on Highway 80, would see us. And a few of 'em turned around and pulled over and said, "Hey, what are you guys doing? What's going on?"

When we talked to 'em and said, "We're police officers. We want to make a difference in community police relations. We want to build that bridge." People were just shocked because they'd never heard anything like that.

To Tarrick's point, people offered us food, water. We had great conversations. We had crucial conversations. This one gentleman that I can think of, he talked about issues that are going on in Selma, and, “What are we gonna do to help improve Selma in addition to community police relations?” It was just overall positive. People were very, very intrigued.

I can just think of one particular day when it was raining, and it was raining really, really hard. You couldn’t see five feet in front of you. One car ended up turning around through the median to come right up to us. This car was full. I can't remember how many people were in there. They thought we had, a car that was stranded and we were walking to a gas station.


OBED MAGNY: They were like, "Hey, hop on in. We'll throw you guys wherever you need to get." "Oh, no, no. We're OK. You know, we're good." There were a lot of stories, but overwhelmingly positive. People were very, very supportive of what we were doing and the challenge that we were looking to solve.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Shon, anything to add?

SHON BARNES: I think over those three days of walking 54 miles, we saw the real America. We saw some people who came by and refused to move over into the center lane, forcing us over into the shoulder of the road. That's the real America. We saw some people who came by and waved and gave us the thumbs up. That's the real America. We saw people who were both white and black stopping to help. That's the real America.


OBED MAGNY: Just those experiences walking over three days really kind of reenergized me to understanding that, yes, there are some things we need to change. There's no question about that. But overall you see someone walking, you think they need help, there's still people willing to stop. As long as that hope exists, any type of injustice we can always overcome.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Let's talk about the physicality of this. Now, I'm looking at you three guys and you all look like you're in really great shape. But hiking 50 miles in the hot summer is really hard. Was there ever a point where you like, "What in God's name am I doing? Maybe this wasn't such a great idea." Obed, you look like you're laughing.

OBED MAGNY: The story I just shared about, "We couldn't see 5 feet in front of us"? That was on the first day. The following morning, I couldn't get out of bed. The idea was, we were gonna walk 10, 15 miles in the morning. And then in the afternoon, come back, do like another 10, 15 miles. That was the goal that we had over the course of three days. The following morning, it probably took me 10 minutes to get out of bed. I couldn't walk. I felt like I was 900 years old. I was like, “Was this a good idea? What was I thinking?"


OBED MAGNY: But all I had to do was look to my right, look to my left, look in front of me. Shon and Tarrick were right there. They helped me a lot to stick with this. But there were moments during that walk where you would have thought that I had aged 900 years and I couldn't walk..

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Tarrick, you feel the same?

TARRICK McGUIRE: I'm a former college athlete, and I will tell you that the battle started before we got to Selma. I live in Texas, and it's very hot here. When you prepare for something like this, you began to do research. And I think the guide is, what does it take for someone to run a half-marathon or marathon? Because our goal was to walk 20 miles a day. So, we would walk 10 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. Ultimately, trying to prepare to walk and not make it past 10 miles in the Texas heat--maybe some days 5 miles—you wonder, how does this apply when you get to a real-world environment?

What I can tell you is that it was by sheer faith. I know there were times that we did want to give up. Matter of fact, one day, I talked to someone that had been through the civil rights era that was actually in Selma. And while we were walking, we talked to him on and put him on speaker phone. What he shared with us was that this is not a physical journey. Our physical bodies would be fatigued, but it was more of a spiritual journey. And if we kept focus on that, then we would accomplish our goal.

So, I will tell you that it was a physical challenge. But we had to focus our mind on those that were walking before us, and those who were walking for them. That is what helped us accomplish the goal. Because physically, our bodies were falling apart.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: (Laughs) That leads perfectly into my next question. The initial purpose of the walk, as I understand it, was for you to encounter this incredible moment in history and to connect that history with your personal and professional lives. I really wonder how it ended up affecting each one of you. What was the immediate impact and was it what you expected?

SHON BARNES: I think about the initial purpose of the walk or the march back in 1965, where there was this dilemma among our leaders at the time. Do you operate within a system and be successful? Do you allow people to oppress? Do you allow people to tell you where you can and can't sit, and where and when you can't vote? You can do that, and you can be successful. Or you can do something different and try to change it and risk all the fears that come with it.

When I think about the walk for me, I had to evaluate my stance on where I was in policing. Because at the end of the walk when we were on the way to the airport, I disclosed to Tarrick and Obed that I had taken a job in Chicago and that I was leaving the sworn ranks of policing. Well, as you can see, I'm back. That was a very short-lived stint away from policing, where I went and I worked for the City of Chicago--still working in police reform, but not as a leader.

One of the things that the walk really revealed to me is that this is not something that I do for a living. This is who I am. I am a public servant. So, I returned to policing after the walk and all of our experiences because it was readily apparent to me that I lacked the power I needed to protect the people I care about the most. That's any community that I'm in, and understanding the plight of what's going on with black people in America. So, for me, it really was a revelation of sorts. And I'm glad that I did it. I'm glad I made the switch back. I'm working now in a wonderful community here in Madison, Wisconsin, and we're doing some great things. And I now have the power that I need to protect the people that I care about the most.

KAREN FRIEDMAN:  Tarrick, did you want to add anything?

TARRICK McGUIRE: I think your brightest moment of self-discovery is not defined by what your status is, the insignia on your uniform, how many letters you have behind your name, or your accomplishments. It's when you manifest your life's purpose and your willingness to impact a generation. On the day--I think it was day two in Selma—I realized our journey, walking from Selma to Montgomery, was really not about us.

It was about those that were in the 1960’s that were willing to lose their lives for the cause of equal treatment under the law. It was about the officers in 2020 who served with dignity, who stood on protest lines, who still work to build relationships in their communities every single day, who did their job in accordance with the Constitution. It was about myself as a father. It was about myself as a public servant, trying to be a beacon of light for those who felt disheartened.

The 54th Mile, and what we were able to experience in Selma, was about becoming a bridge between the despair that we were feeling in the country and hope. We get an opportunity every single day to serve people in good times and bad times. But a great police leader is willing to stand, regardless of what the situation is.

For me, what we were able to accomplish, it was about my songs. It was about the conversations that my father has had with me about the challenges that people of color face in our community. There are so many men and women that work for police departments across the United States that do the right thing every day. They represent all ethnicities, sexual orientations, of our entire country. And they do what's right. I felt for them as I was walking, because that's what we want America to be. We want it to be equality and justice for all.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Obed, somewhere along the way you all decided that this walk might be more than just a personal journey, that it could be the start of something much bigger. When and how did that start to take shape?

OBED MAGNY: During the course of the walk, Tarrick and Shon and I had many, many, many conversations. We listened to music, everything from gospel to hip-hop to everything in-between. We listened to different speeches from Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, other leaders. And during the course of our conversations, we determined that this is about everybody in America.

Doesn't matter if you're a police officer or community member, business owner, all of those things. This walk was never, ever, ever about us. It was never about us. During the course of the walk--and I actually remember we were inside of the Montgomery city limits--we came up with a theme, a framework. And it's "I see you, I hear you, and I'm accountable to you."

When we said that "I see you," we see people in their struggles. Doesn't matter what socioeconomic background you come from or anything like that. Everybody deserves to be treated fairly and equally. We know that community trust in policing is a little frail. We got to fix that. We got to strengthen that. So, during the course of our talks, the framework was kind of building itself.

Once we got inside the Montgomery city limits, we just started talking about it and just documenting it. That's how we kind of came across this idea of a foundation, of it's all about others first. It wasn't about us, and it wasn't a protest march or anything like that. It was, "What do we have that's of substance, that's gonna help solve this crisis that's going on right now?"

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Shon, you wanted to add to that?

SHON BARNES: Sure. "I see you.” How do you see yourself? How do others see you? And what is the difference between the two?" That's how we begin to move forward. "I hear you." How do you demonstrate to your community as a police leader that you actually understand someone else's truth? To me, that is the key to being a good police officer, to being a good police leader: Understanding someone else's truth. That's when you're actually listening to people and being accountable to people. Because if you're not accountable, they will make you accountable.

Some of the things that we saw with civil unrest was people not being held accountable. And the public wanted to make sure that happened with the incident involving Derek Chauvin. But the "I see you, I hear you, I'm accountable to you," was something that we all really—it was almost like a manifestation at the same time. We all had the same thought of, “What did we learn over the last 3 days?” We all really said the same thing, and that confirmation let us know we're on the right track. We're on to something big.


TARRICK McGUIRE: I would just add to that, accountability starts with all of us. It starts with city and government officials. It starts with those that are in communities.

I think we've always known what the problem is. We've seen multiple iterations of U.S. presidents call commissions together to evaluate police-community relations. If you look back to the (1960’s) riot control Kerner Commission evaluation, if you look at the President's Task Force on 21st-Century Policing under President Obama, you'll see similarities related to socioeconomic challenges and the actions of the police and how those two coincide as it relates to community-police relations.

I think the "I am accountable to you" means that we will press forth with some type of action. We will try to work toward a common goal, not to always seek a solution but to ensure progress. This is our way of trying to add progress to a profession that we love so dearly, to add value to communities that we serve every single day. I think that's what accountability is. We've got to work together toward progress.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: I know that all three of you are acquainted with Robin Engel at the National Policing Institute. She and her team at the Institute are working with you to create a training program on policing in minority communities. Shon, you want to tell us how that came about?

SHON BARNES: I've known Robin the longest among us. I got my master's degree at the University of Cincinnati (where Engel was formerly a professor). I remember getting an e-mail from some students saying, "Whatever you do, don't take Robin Engel's research meetings."

But, you know, being the person that I am, I immediately signed up for her class, because—

KAREN FRIEDMAN: You heard a challenge!

SHON BARNES: So, I've known Robin for some time. But it would be impossible for anyone to get a Ph.D. or an advanced degree in criminal justice without reading something with Robin Engel's name on it. We were all convinced that reaching out to her about this project was the right place to go. Robin has been a friend and a mentor to us all.

She's the reason we're still moving forward with this through the BJA grant that we received. We definitely don't want to go any further without saying "Thank you" to the good folks at BJA, including Director Karhlton Moore, for believing in this project. And we're gonna see it through. We're gonna have a great product, a training curriculum, and we're gonna offer some practical solutions to help move policing forward.

We all want things to change tomorrow. There are so many things that we want to change tomorrow. When it comes to how people treat each other, when it comes to kindness, when it comes to equality, fairness, and justice, those things demand practical solutions. It doesn't mean that a miracle can't happen tomorrow. But until that happens, we're gonna do our part through Robin Engel, through the National Policing Institute, and through the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to offer practical solutions to move forward.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: All three of you have spent your careers working in different capacities in law enforcement. What are some of the lessons you have learned that you want to incorporate into this training program?

OBED MAGNY: Being a former line employee, there's a lot of people who feel maybe because, they're on the front lines, they don't hold the supervisory title, they feel that they can't make a meaningful contribution. And that's a huge myth. Everybody can make a contribution. Everybody can make a major contribution. Doesn't matter if you're a line-level employee, or if you're a community member, you're a business owner—everybody has something to contribute.

The example I like to use is, if you look at a football team, not everybody can play quarterback. Right? Not everybody can play running back. Everybody has a different role that they can play, whether on offense, defense, that kind of stuff. So, it doesn't matter where you are or what position you are playing. You can make just as much of a meaningful contribution in your own right for good, for justice. Because at the end of the day, it's all about justice. Everybody has a responsibility. You can't just stay on the sidelines and say, "OK, it's somebody else's job, because I'm not the chief or I’m not the CEO of something." That couldn't be further from the truth.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: I totally agree. Tarrick, did you want to add something?

TARRICK McGUIRE: We really have to learn what history has taught us. The first module of our training will focus on the lessons learned in Selma, Alabama, as related to the tipping point of Bloody Sunday, where there are always warning signs. What I mean by that is, there's always missteps that are in communities where improvements can be made. But the true question is, do we pay attention to those warning signs leading up to what we all would probably see as a tipping point?

Going back to the concept of a bridge, I want people to see themselves as they learn about history and walk through history. I want them to see themselves as bridge builders. I think it's vitally important to not only build relationships with those we police, but it is of extreme importance that we build relationships on an intricate level. Sometimes that means meeting people where they are in times of comfort that will help strengthen relationships when there are times of crisis.

When you look at the lessons learned in Selma, it was a moral question. I often ask myself, "What if those officers on that bridge would have stopped what was going on? What if someone was on the bridge on that day to say that we're not going to engage in this type of behavior?" I really want people to see themselves on that bridge. I want them to see themselves as a bridge-builder in their community. That is how they're going to really set a foundation through this curriculum, through this training, to take back their community, to be a part of the change that we hope to see in our nation.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: When you began your walk from Selma to Montgomery in 2021, you didn't know that it would transform into the 54th Mile Project and the work that you all are doing now. I wonder where you hope this project will be in two years or five years from now.

SHON BARNES: As I think about the future of The 54th Mile Project, my hope is that it can be a roadmap, a way for police leaders, executives, community members to come together and understand the historical context of what happened there so that we never forget. But, most importantly, to move forward and understand how we hold each other accountable so that we can reach our goals of a more fair and just society, not just in your community but our society as a whole.

My hope is that someone will take something away from the curriculum that may prevent the next incident that causes protests and civil disturbance in our communities, because no one wins when that happens. We want to make sure that everyone understands that the fight for justice and equality is the easy part. The hard part is living up to it. When we took the walk, the actual walking was easy. What was difficult was the accountability piece--getting up, putting on wet shoes, or trying to find your clothes, or trying to muster up the strength to get out there. Justice and principles are the same. It's easier to fight for them than it is to live up to them. Hopefully, this training will help people actually live up to those principles.


OBED MAGNY: We see this project, this curriculum being the road map for a lot of leaders who are looking for practical ways to connect with their community members, a road map or playbook on how to help organizations build that bridge to reach the other side This isn't just specific to police only. Everybody can be involved, and everybody can get something from this.

We had this idea three years ago, and it got pushed back a couple times because of the pandemic and because of what happened in Minneapolis. We wanted to create something that would outlast us. We wanted to create something that would last forever in solving this issue that we have right now with community-police relations. If you had told us we would be on a podcast, that we would have gotten a $1 million grant from BJA, we wouldn't have believed it.

But to Shon's point, it's that perseverance, it's that working. No matter how many challenges or obstacles you have in front of you, when you're standing on principle and for justice, you're gonna get to where you're gonna get to. This is a challenging moment right now, where we're trying to bridge that gap. But that doesn't dissuade us. This curriculum, when it's released, you're gonna see that doesn't matter what community you're in--on the East Coast, West Coast, the South, or the North—you can create something that will be successful, not just for your organization but for the community just as well.


TARRICK McGUIRE: In March of 2023, I will have been at the Arlington Police Department for 20 years. I've been very fortunate to rise through the ranks, to be second in charge of what I believe is one of the best police departments in the nation that has really taught me what policing should look like in serving the community.

But if you were to ask me two to five years from now what I would hope for The 54th Mile Project, I would hope that we will have inspired a generation. I hope that this curriculum will be in police departments across this nation. I hope that this will be a tool to help the recruiting challenges and the retention challenges that we face right now in policing.

I'm not a mathematician, but I think 54 years from now we will be in year 2077. I don't where I will be at that time. But I hope that my sons can look back and say that their father knew two men that rose to the occasion to try to provide a solution, to help the nation when we were going through a challenging time. No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, no matter where you come from, it's up to us to be a part of the change. And it's up to each of us to define what our 54th Mile will be in our local community.

KAREN FRIEDMAN: Shon Barnes, Obed Magny, and Tarrick McGuire, thank you so much for joining us today. I am just blown away by each one of you and the depth of your understanding of the issues facing our nation and facing our communities.

We are very excited about The 54th Mile Project. And we look forward to hearing more from you as the project continues. Thank you so much for being here.

OBED MAGNY: Thank you.