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Panel to Advise Obama on Police-Community Relationships

  • VOA News

FILE - A demonstrator blocks the path of a Los Angeles Police Department officer during a rally against the decision in the Michael Brown case and the LAPD's fatal shooting in August of Ezell Ford, in Los Angeles, Dec. 1, 2014.

FILE - A demonstrator blocks the path of a Los Angeles Police Department officer during a rally against the decision in the Michael Brown case and the LAPD's fatal shooting in August of Ezell Ford, in Los Angeles, Dec. 1, 2014.

President Barack Obama is appointing a task force to examine how best to build trust and foster strong relationships between local law enforcement officers and the communities they protect.

The 11-member Task Force on 21st Century Policing will be made up of law enforcement representatives, community leaders, academics and youth leaders. The panel is expected to submit recommendations to the president by March.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the task force would consider, among other things, best practices for the use of body cameras by police.

Obama has asked Congress for $263 million to pay for body cameras for police officers and to expand training for law enforcement.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, will lead the task force.

Obama has said that he will use his last two years in office to address the "simmering distrust" between police and minority communities.

The president's pledge came in early December after days of protests followed a Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the August street shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

Days after the Missouri decision, a New York grand jury decided not to bring criminal charges against a white police officer whose chokehold contributed to the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old African-American, in New York City in July.

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