The Obama administration on Monday announced a commitment of 263 million dollars for a community policing initiative in the wake of the national racial uproar emanating from Ferguson, Missouri.
The money, to be spread over three years, will offer assistance to law enforcement agencies to buy body-worn cameras; to expand training for law enforcement agencies; to add more resources to police departments that want to pursue reform efforts; and to facilitate the expansion of programs that encourage community leaders and law enforcement agencies to engage in a dialogue that would strengthen the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and build trust with the communities they are sworn to serve and protect, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing.
President Barack Obama has noted that "some of the US communities where the lack of trust is most evident are exactly the same communities where an intensive law enforcement presence is needed, because the crime rates are really high," Earnest said. It is an unfortunate irony that in those communities where the crime rate is the highest, that sometimes the trust is lowest between members of the community and the police force, he added.
Obama believes those issues are worthy of close examination by federal, state and local officials and the broader public, and "that we should have a debate about some of these issues, and we should have a conversation about what kinds of changes we can make to our government and to our society to better address some of these concerns that have been laid bare pretty dramatically in Ferguson over the last several months," Earnest said.
Protests have broken out across the United States since a grand jury last week in Ferguson decided to not indict a while police officer in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old unarmed black man last August.