Remarks as prepared for delivery
Good afternoon and thank you all for being here. I’m pleased to be joined by the distinguished leaders of five proud American cities: Mayor [Stephanie] Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore; Mayor [Michael] Nutter of Philadelphia; Mayor [Mitch] Landrieu of New Orleans; Mayor [Karen] Freeman-Wilson of Gary and Mayor [Muriel] Bowser of Washington, D.C. This group – and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) as a whole – has been a source of critical support, wise counsel and steadfast partnership and I’m looking forward to today’s discussion about how we can advance our common efforts to reduce violence, strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the citizens we serve and create stronger and safer communities where every American can thrive.
That urgent work is never easy. In recent months, we’ve been reminded that violence remains a grim reality in far too many neighborhoods. We’ve seen the harmful consequences of eroded trust between law enforcement and residents. And we’ve witnessed painful examples of the dangers and uncertainties that our brave police officers face every day. But we’ve also seen how hard work and productive partnerships can lead to real and important progress.
Through programs like our National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, we’re working with local stakeholders to enhance procedural justice, reduce bias and encourage reconciliation. Through the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing – which benefited from recommendations made by a group that included the mayors who are here with me today – we are taking innovative new approaches to criminal justice and community policing. In September, we expanded our Violence Reduction Network, which makes a wide range of Justice Department tools and services available to municipal authorities. And we continue to offer local departments training, technical assistance and funding through our Office of Justice Programs and our Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which has for years enjoyed a close and productive relationship with the USCM.
In all these efforts and many more, we’re working tirelessly and creatively, through a variety of channels, to reduce violent crime, to promote officer safety and to restore community trust and security across the country. And in every instance, we are emphasizing the input and participation of those who know our communities best – the men and women who call them home. That’s why conversations like this one are so important: they allow us to share pressing concerns and innovative ideas; they give us a chance to evaluate our progress and to chart the way forward; and they reaffirm our shared commitment to a safer and stronger nation. I’m confident that, with the help of our valued partners, we will continue to take significant strides towards the realization of that goal – and I’m looking forward to all that we’ll continue to achieve together in the days and months to come.