Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Laurie Robinson on Monday urged state and local criminal justice leaders to put into practice recommendations of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Robinson, co-chair of the task force, spoke at the National Forum on Criminal Justice in Atlanta. Alluding to last year’s police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., she said, “There have clearly been seismic shifts in the terrain of criminal justice and, more broadly, in civil society in America since that time.” She added, “This is not something just to ‘get through’ and move on to the next crisis. I think we will look back on this time 20 years from now and see this as a real watershed period not just for criminal justice but for our country, perhaps comparable to the '60s.”
Last week, the White House brought together 35 mayors and police chiefs to share notes on steps they've already taken to implementat the task force’s recommendations. Robinson said she was “delighted” by the progress, “but we know there's still so much to be done.” Robinson quoted her task force co-chair, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, as saying that criminal justice officials should step forward and “own this problem.” Robinson said, “All of this has to come, of course, from the bottom up – from state and local leaders. This should not … be about federal edicts.” The panel said “law enforcement should embrace a guardian, rather than a warrior, mindset, with procedural justice as the guiding principle,” Robinson said.