Creating change and inspiring growth.

Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy, or SCEMA, exists to inform and inspire communities to create lasting change.

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Join us for our ongoing lecture series!

Rental Regulatory Systems: Elevating Public Health in Addressing Substandard Rental Housing
Friday, December 9, 2022 at 11:30 AM CT/12:30 PM ET

Moderated by Joe Schilling, Co-Director, SCEMA and Senior Research Associate, Urban Institute

Special Guests:

  • Sophie Bryan, Senior Manager, Philadelphia Research & Policy Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Jake Dishaw, Director of Code Enforcement, City of Syracuse
  • Kurt D. Martin, Director of Buildings and Zoning, Neighborhood and Business Development, City of Rochester
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Watch our latest webinar

In 2001, the Dallas City Attorney’s Office adopted its community prosecution model to address code, fire and environmental violations that negatively impacted the safety, wellness and economic growth of Dallas’ communities. Unlike traditional prosecution, which stresses conviction, community prosecution seeks to prevent and reduce code violations by bringing civil law enforcement actions to impose state nuisance laws and city ordinances before the courts intervene. Join us to learn how community prosecutors work alongside local detectives, code officers, fire prevention officers, and residents to develop and implement proactive policies and strategies to improve the quality of life in Dallas.

Access Passcode: RT?&b35C

Community Prosecution in Dallas: Addressing the Nuisance

Stay tuned for SCEMA 2023, our 7th annual Academy!

Founded in 2017, SCEMA is a joint program of the University of Memphis School of Law and Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. devoted to elevating the field of code enforcement and building a network of showcase communities. SCEMA provides the rare opportunity for peer learning among code enforcement programs from diverse cities, counties, and towns that want to enhance, expand or share their transformations to strategic code enforcement.

Our annual, two-day team building workshop for local government managers, attorneys and their community partners focuses on the core principles and practices of strategic code enforcement tailored to the priorities and challenges confronting each teams’ community. Strategic code enforcement is a cross-agency, data driven approach that leverages multiple partnerships to ensure compliance and enforcement actions are effective, efficient and equitable.

Strategic code compliance and enforcement is a community-based model that is essential for helping neighborhoods recover and sustain their quality of life. Embedded in the state and local policy power to protect public health, safety and security, such an approach requires the cooperation and coordination of the local public and public interest institutions and agencies whose decisions and actions are guided by sharing data and knowledge.

Thank you to all the cities who participated in SCEMA 2022:

  • St. Louis, MO

  • Syracuse, NY

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Baltimore, MD

  • Cleveland, OH

  • Covington, TN

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Where is SCEMA making a difference?

  • Birmingham, AL

  • Chattanooga, TN

  • Cincinnati, OH

  • Covington, TN

  • Dallas, TX

  • Kansas City, KS

  • Little Rock, AR

  • Memphis, TN

  • Minneapolis, MN

  • Nashville, TN

  • New Orleans, LA

  • Nitro, WV

  • Pittsburgh, PA

  • Providence, RI

  • Puerto Rico

  • Rockford, IL

  • Saint Albans, WV

  • St. Louis, MO

  • Syracuse, NY

  • Toledo, OH

  • Union City, TN

  • Ventura, CA

  • White Plains, NY

  • Wyandotte County, KS

What are people saying?

 Dennis Kennedy
 Toledo, Ohio

When you live and breathe blight and vacancy every day in your professional life, you can quickly find yourself living in a vacuum, where the approach for this work can be met with the same routines.  What I found the most useful about SCEMA, was the introduction to subject matter experts on all things related to not only enforcing the code, but the genesis of why chronic nuisance issues exist in our communities.  The SCEMA staff has a true passion for this work, and you can feel that energy translate through course offerings and the lecture series.

There are not one-thousand new innovative ways to ‘do’ code enforcement, yet, SCEMA has found a path to create a network of professionals whose main focus is the support and outreach of folks doing this great work in sister cities.  Everyone is very passionate about improving quality of life for residents in our communities, and the SCEMA staff hits the target on providing useful and valuable tools and strategies for tangible outcomes.  It is for all of these reasons and many more than I could even list, I highly recommend finding yourself at the SCEMA annual conference.

Kathy Dillon
City Manager,
City of Union City Tennessee

The Union City team was fascinated by the amount of knowledge and accomplishments in one place at one time. We learned much of what we are doing right and where we need to improve or change.  We are looking forward to this conference and networking next year.

Matt Moak
Executive Director,
Community Development Administration,
City of St. Louis

There is something about working on City vacancy that affects you. It gets under your skin. I believe it has to be a part of you for you to want to work to achieve success addressing it.  It is not for everyone. The participants and instructors at the Memphis SCEMA conference had this in common.  To hear each of them present, question, offer insights and guidance with enthusiasm and determination was inspring and stirring.  It was real to connect with other urban cities in this way.  This type of work can make one feel quite alone.  Memphis brought us “loners” together. An incredible conference. Practical and intellectual, thought provoking, interactive while consistently positive and hopeful. The great cities preserve but also have to rebuild.  I felt the ability to do this at SCEMA.  Thank you.

Dana M. Malkus
Associate Dean for Experiential Education,
Associate Clinical Professor,
Supervisor, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic
Saint Louis University School of Law

SCEMA’s team-based approach and commitment to meeting workshop participants where they are was exactly what our team needed.  We came away with deeper relationships, a renewed sense of purpose, new perspectives, and some concrete ideas for action.

Who makes this possible?