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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Plusquellic Joining Other Mayors to Push for Nationwide Police Policy Changes

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US Conference of Mayor President Kevin Johnson to Take Matter to the White House

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of stephanie york
Published: 12-08-2014

    

                                                      

           This past Friday, Mayor Plusquellic participated in another conference call with the US Conference of Mayors’ President (Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson), its Vice President (Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake), and 40 other mayors where the group talked specifically about making changes at a national level, instead of each city piece-mealing together their own responses to police related issues that continue to plague cities.  Plusquellic also had the opportunity to once again share his idea of having the FBI step in immediately to investigate, at the outset, police-citizen shootings. 

          The conversation led the group of leaders to agree that there should be a national policy with respect to best police practices, training on use of force, testing body camera use, and sensitivity training, among other things.  Particularly, the Mayors from Gary, IN, Birmingham, AL, and Philadelphia, PA told of their experiences in the areas of training on use of force, body cameras, sensitivity training, and other best practice methods that if implemented nationwide would help to instill public trust and confidence in our police departments throughout the country. 

          After the joint conference call, Mayor Johnson immediately called Mayor Plusquellic to further discuss the idea of having the FBI immediately respond in police/citizen shootings.   Johnson agreed to work with Plusquellic at the national level, and he plans to take this idea straight to the White House.

          “There is no doubt the national government needs to step up and help the local authorities in cases where the appearance of local bias undermines the public’s confidence in our police force,” noted Mayor Plusquellic.  “There needs to be national guidelines, taken from policies that have been successful in cities across the nation -- cities that I have studied. I intend to work closely with Mayor Johnson on a national level to advance best practices policies for police departments across the country.” 

          In response to the Grand Jury decision in New York City, President/Mayor Kevin Johnson issued a release where he stated, “…tragedies have taken place in small and large cities, north, south east and west for decades.  This is our chance to make this right.  As the leaders of the nation’s cities, we are committed to working with leaders in Washington and across the nation to bring communities together to deal with the greater issues of race, poverty, and the growing economic and cultural divide we see in some of our neighborhoods today.”

          Plusquellic has been working behind the scenes for years to bring nationwide police policy changes to the forefront, and this conference call was a huge step in bringing mayors across the country together to jointly seek uniform police policies. 

          Over 20 years ago, Plusquellic first asked FBI officials to step in to investigate a police shooting – to take away the appearance of bias.  On several other occasions, Plusquellic has pursued outside investigators in sensitive police matters to help build the community’s trust.  In August, 2014, Plusquellic wrote to officials in the FBI and other federal officials asking them to take action with respect to changing the federal government’s policy as it relates to local police investigations involving police officer shootings.   Specifically, he noted a need to have a nationwide policy of having the FBI step in immediately after a police/civilian shooting-- where tensions are high, facts are assumed and oft times inaccurate, and “police haters” are active – and take control of a crime scene and its investigation.  Plusquellic reasoned that this type of swift action by an authoritative unbiased third-party immediately deflates a potentially volatile situation and dispels all notions of unfair and unequal treatment by the public.

          “The overwhelming, vast majority of our police officers come to work every day with the intent to protect our citizens, and they do an excellent job,” said Mayor Plusquellic.  “They should have the confidence and support of our citizens.  Residents will more readily back its officers if those officers are working from uniform procedures and guidelines -- procedures that have been proven effective by cities throughout the country.  And, residents will have more trust if any alleged wrongdoing is investigated by an unbiased third party.  I am working hard on a national level with other mayors and community leaders, including the National Urban League, to bring about needed changes.  I will continue to do so until changes are made.”

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For further information, contact:
stephanie york
communications director
Phone: 330-375-2345
E-mail: [email protected]

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