In recent days, many have been captivated by ongoing developments, anguished emotions, peaceful protests -- and, too often, deeply unfortunate images of unnecessary destruction. And this tragic incident has sparked a necessary, national conversation about the need to ensure trust and build strong relationships between law enforcement officials and the communities they serve.
Events in Ferguson have revealed a deep distrust between a community and its police force. But this reality is not limited to one location. Other communities around this country know this struggle all too well. And it's abundantly clear that every single one of us has a role to play in tackling this problem together, as a nation -- to identify those things that bind us, and to be honest with one another about the things that continue to divide us.
In August, President Obama ordered a review of federal funding and programs that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Yesterday, the Administration released that review's findings -- and announced key next steps to strengthen the trust in and effectiveness of the policing of our communities.
Learn more about yesterday's announcements, and the findings of the Administration's review.
Here are the next steps we're taking:
- Creating a new task force to promote the expansion of 21st century community-oriented policing.
- Reforming how the federal government equips local law enforcement, particularly with military-style equipment.
- Advancing the use of body-worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives.
The changes that the President announced yesterday are exactly the sorts of programmatic steps that will bring the right people together to engage in a constructive, national conversation -- so we can build trust, address persistent concerns, and protect public safety while respecting the rights of every American.
Last Tuesday, addressing the public, the President said, "[to] those who are prepared to work constructively, your President will work with you." I am committed to answering the President's call to see this through -- as are the men and women of the United States Department of Justice.
Learn more about yesterday's announcements here -- and spread the word to anyone who wants to know how we're moving forward as a nation.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.