The job of President Obama’s new Task Force on 21st Century Policing to come up with recommendations in 90 days “is daunting…but it’s doable,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, co-chair with Laurie Robinson of George Mason University, tells the Associated Press. The task force is charged with recommending ways the government can support accountability, transparency and trust in police in the aftermath of the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Ramsey, who also heads the Police Executive Research Forum and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said of his experiences in Philadelphia connecting the police force with the community, “We start all of our recruits on foot patrol and we have since I’ve been there. They are right in our more troubled areas where we have crime occurring in open space. Not only are they there as a deterrent to crime, they’re also there to meet the community members, to get to know who the decent, law-abiding people are who reside in that community that far out-number the criminals. That’s how you begin to build trust.” He also discussed “militarization” of policing, racial profiling, and body cameras.