AG Lynch Addresses Trust Between Police, Communities


Attorney General Loretta Lynch has promised that a new national database is being formed to keep track of police officers with bad records in order to keep them from slipping through the cracks.

On Oct. 3, Lynch was interviewed by CBS News correspondent DeMarco Morgan about the current state of law enforcement in the U.S.

When asked about the disturbing trend of police officers being let go by one department only to be hired by another department due to a lack of oversight, Lynch revealed that the Justice Department (DOJ) was exploring options to establish a new database.

“The [Justice] Department has supported one particular organization that is working on such a national database,” Lynch said.

“We support making sure that every police department has the information they need to make the best hiring choices possible,” she added.

Lynch never specified which organization was developing a database, but FBI Director James Comey had recently revealed that his agency was building a national database to track instances of police use of deadly force.

On Sept. 28, Comey told the House Judiciary Committee that the FBI would have a database up and running by 2017 or 2018, the Associated Press reports.

The FBI said that questions about whether or not law enforcement specifically targets minority communities will not be settled until there is a comprehensive database that provides hard data.

“Everybody gets why it matters,” Comey said.

During her interview, Lynch also endorsed community policing, or assigning law enforcement officers to specific communities where they can develop relationships with residents.

“Community policing is policing that’s based upon a connection between law enforcement and the community … Rebuilding the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve is one of my top priorities as Attorney General,” Lynch said.

Addressing the numerous viral videos that show police officers shooting unarmed civilians, particularly people of color, Lynch urged outraged Americans to be patient.

“I say I understand your frustration, and I understand how you would feel that way,” Lynch said. “I remind people that this is a process … We look back at the arc of history and we see the progress that we have made in this country,” Lynch asserted.

“And we have always, always fought for justice.”

In September, the DOJ awarded a grant of $20 million to 106 law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to purchase body-worn cameras and train their officers how to use them, UPI reports.

“These grants will help more than 100 law enforcement agencies promote transparency and ensure accountability, clearing the way for the closer cooperation between residents and officers that is so vital to public safety,” Lynch said.

Sources: Associated Press via NBC NewsCBS News, UPI / Photo credit: Eric Garcetti/Flickr

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