On April 4, 2014 the COPS Office hosted a director’s forum in New York City titled, Strengthening the Relationship between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color. The forum focused on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The event brought together police chiefs, community activists, civil rights organizations, and civic leaders from across the country to discuss effective strategies and what challenges these individuals have faced as change agents within their fields.
Law enforcement executives and community leaders were eager to get the day started along with a few other VIP’s of the morning. “Both groups today should be seen and heard,” stated Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who was one of the opening speakers. Mayor de Blasio also stated that, “The people lead and the leaders should follow,” and Reverend Al Sharpton declared “We have to get past our pre-conceived notions, no matter how justified they may be towards one another.” The theme of collaboration and openness was very real among all participants throughout the forum.
The second half of the meeting was a closed session focused around challenges, strategies, and outcomes that participants have come across within their fields of expertise.
In closing remarks, Director Davis stressed that building trust in communities is one of the COPS Office’s top priorities, and it is committed to assisting law enforcement agencies enhance their relationship with communities of color. Director Davis closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their candor and called participants to, “Help the field advance the field.”
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