New Attorney General Loretta Lynch will meet with local police officers nationwide this summer as she tries to strike a new tone for the Justice Department amid a roiling controversy over the use of lethal force, the New York Times reports. Lynch, the first black woman to hold the post, is replacing Eric Holder, the Obama administration's most outspoken voice on issues of race relations and civil rights. His tenure made him a hero among many on the left but earned him scorn from some police groups who said he was too quick to criticize officers amid a spate of high-profile episodes of black men dying at the hands of white officers. Lynch has signaled that she plans a different approach, particularly in the nationwide debate over police tactics.
Lynch's aides said that improving police morale and finding common ground between law enforcement and minority communities would be among her top priorities. Lynch’s expected tenure stretches little more than 18 months. That will make it hard for her to carry out significant policy changes, especially in a climate with a Republican-controlled Congress, a lame-duck president and a shift in attention to the 2016 presidential election. Lynch's aides said she had no immediate plans for major pronouncements and would instead focus on internal changes at the department. She wants to restructure her office to be more responsive to cybersecurity cases and to do more to combat human trafficking. Obama said Lynch would advocate criminal justice reform, but it is not a personal passion for her as it was for Holder and it is not clear she will make the bill an early priority.