2020-10-5-WILLICHIEF (copy)

Kerri Nicoll and other social workers started the Williamstown CARES project to help the community share its vision for public safety with the town.

NORTH ADAMS — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will award its 2022 Peacemaker Award to Kerri Nicoll for her work on a community assessment of public safety in Williamstown.

Nicoll, an associate professor of sociology, anthropology and social work at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, created the Williamstown CARES project alongside other social workers as the town dealt with reports of sexual misconduct and racism within its police department.

The project “offers an opportunity to the community to share what community safety and well-being mean to them in order to better inform the town on the best ways to serve the community’s needs,” NBCC said in a news release.

“This project uses a community-based participatory research framework, and Kerri has been instrumental in making sure the research is rigorous and adheres to this framework,” NBCC said. “Kerri has volunteered her time to conceptualize this project, answer questions thoroughly and thoughtfully to the public, and offer her expertise in terms of conducting analysis of community members’ interviews.”

Nicoll also is a member of Williamstown’s Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee and volunteers actively in North Adams.

She led a retreat last March that aimed to help the Williamstown Select Board participate in effective two-way communication with residents.

NBCC started the Peacemaker Award as part of the local celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. The award typically is presented at the annual MLK Day of Service, although this year’s event was called off due to inclement weather and other factors.