Police Must Take Initiative to Get Federal Aid, Obama Says

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The federal government can play a bigger role in helping to protect and train police officers, but the initiative needs to come from local police departments, President Obama said yesterday, USA Today reports. Obama said not enough police departments have access to equipment like bullet-proof vests. He added that the federal government could play a role in helping to train officers how to de-escalate tense situations and deal with active shooters. “This cannot just be a federal top-down initiative,” he said. “This has to be a local initiative in the 18,000 law enforcement jurisdictions that are out there all across the country.”

Obama’s comments came after a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey to discuss the shooting deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge last weekend. That shooting followed the deaths of five Dallas officers under similar circumstances earlier this month, leaving the White House scrambling to try to find specific ways to improve police safety. Obama said there is “no contradiction between us protecting our officers, honoring our officers, making sure that they have all the tools they need to do their job safely, and building trust between police officers and departments in the communities that they serve.” Speakers at the Republican National Convention criticized his record of support for police. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al.) said, “Crime is rising, and the president, he blames the police.”

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