Attorney general visits WSU for policing forum

Taken from The South End.

Amanda Rahn | Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2016 12:54 pm

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch held a forum on policing in McGregor Memorial Conference Center on Wayne State’s campus on Aug. 3.

Lynch began a series of talks with the Detroit Police Department’s sixth and eighth precincts on Aug. 2, and ended her two-day stay in Detroit at Wayne State for a policing forum, followed by a press conference.

She traveled to Detroit as part of the annual National Night Out, which, according to the Department of Justice, is a “community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.”

The forum at WSU was attended by members of the DOJ, as well as community leaders such as Reverend Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Branch NAACP and a WSU alumnus.

Anthony discussed the merits of community policing in which police officers are encouraged to establish a relationship with the community they are policing. He said that he agreed with Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown’s view that community policing prevented the unrest between the Dallas police and community from being “even worse.

“Community policing is the way to go,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for accountability and standards in training and policing.

“Police officers who do wrong things need to go to jail. They need to do time. That’s accountability.”

“Training and accountability must be standardized. It should be required at a level that is uniform. Standards should be federally based, not state-to-state rooted. Trainers should be diverse and appropriate for the communities in which they serve.”

Anthony proposed the idea that stipulations should be placed on grants given to police departments.

“Accountability must occur and departments should be awarded grants based on compliance to standards and procedures outlined in national guidelines including officer accountability for offensive and excessive use of force. In other words, departments should not just be able to get grants. They should have to pass a certain degree of standards,” he said.

Lynch agreed with Anthony’s suggestions.

“We at the Department of Justice are working on so many of those issues – of training, of standards, of working with departments, but also making sure there is a strong community component within the discussion because it has to be a response to the community’s needs,” Lynch said.

“Please know, while we work on these issues in Washington, we are very, very well aware that the policies we set and the things we talk about will be carried out and implemented by real people in real communities,” she said.

The policing forum was followed by a closed meeting during which DOJ members, community leaders and Detroit police had a private discussion.

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