FW: Pool Report #1

From: Clift, Eleanor [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2015 1:38 PM
To: Velz, Peter
Subject: FW: Pool Report #1

Shortly before noon, pool entered Roosevelt Room for POTUS meeting with Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  White House provided info below on attendees and background.  POTUS noted that after events in Ferguson and NY, he asked task force to come back in 90 days with a specific set of recommendations “to build the kind of trust we need to make progress in the future.”

POTUS sat between the two co-chairs, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey on his left, and Laurie Robinson, professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason Univ on his right.  POTUS praised their report, which he said will be available online.  “Some put their lives on hold for more than two months,” he said, noting that the recommendations are specific, and range from training to technology to alternative approaches for policing.

He went on at some length to summarize a few points. For example, the need to collect more data: “We don’t have a good sense how many interactions result in a death, in a shooting,” he said, which is the kind of information communities need to have oversight.

POTUS was just a minute or two into his remarks when Laurie Robinson began coughing. He passed his glass of water to her, saying, “It’s important, she’s been working very hard…Michelle has the same thing (a cough).”  (No one else around the table had water.)

Robinson kept coughing and POTUS kept talking. “There’s a lot of talk about body cameras as a silver bullet or a solution,” he said. “There is a role for technology to play…but it’s not a panacea.”

He said the broader point of poverty and isolation is discussed, but said he told the group, “I don’t want us to have such a forty thousand feet approach that we lose the thrust of the recommendations (PLEASE CHECK TRANSCRIPT FOR EXACT WORDING)

He said the Justice Department will review the recommendations, and he would like to see the COPS program expanded – but that the main audience for the report is the 18000 police jurisdictions who he hopes will “recognize the moment is now to make these changes.”

He closed with plea to the media to recognize this report is important, and to focus on its recommendations. “People are crying out for solutions and by the time recommendations are put forward we’ve moved on. This is a moment…a lot of work has gone into this….”

POTUS ignored a shouted question about Netanyahu, but did respond to Mark Knoller who asked: “Surely you don’t mean us” that the White House press corps would ignore such a report.  “I meant more generic,” Obama replied.

Monday, March 02, 2015 12:13 PM

Background from the White House on the President’s Meeting with the Task Force on 21st Century Policing:

Events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and around the country have highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect. And recent events in New York City have highlighted the need to address officer safety concerns.  On December 1st, President Obama announced he would create a Task Force on 21st Century Policing as part of the Administration’s efforts to strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

On December 18th, President Obama signed an Executive Order formally establishing the task force and announcing its nine members and two co-chairs. The Task Force is chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also served until January as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, and Laurie Robinson, professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.  Members include law enforcement representatives, community leaders, academics, and youth leaders. Ron Davis, Director of DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office serves as the Executive Director of the Task Force under the direction of the co-chairs.

For the last two months, the Task Force has held 7 public hearings in Washington DC, Cincinnati and Phoenix during which more than 100 individuals testified. Task Force members also engaged with a variety of stakeholders throughout the process.   Discussion sessions were held with groups of leaders to share perspectives from the disability community, LGBT Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Veterans, and more.

Today, the Task Force will provide the President with recommendations and specific action items for improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve and action items to enhance officer safety and wellness.


·         Attorney General Eric Holder

·         Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates

·         Ronald Davis, Director, DOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

·         Charles Ramsey (Co-Chair), Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department and Former President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association

·         Laurie Robinson (Co-Chair), Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University and Former Assistant Attorney General

·         Cedric L. Alexander, National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives

·         Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road New York

·         Tracey L. Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School

·         Brittany N. Packnett, Executive Director of Teach For America in St. Louis, Missouri

·         Susan Lee Rahr, Executive Director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission

·         Sean Michael Smoot, Director and Chief Counsel for the Police Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois

·         Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative

·         Roberto Villaseñor, Chief of Police for the Tucson Police Department

Task Force members unable to attend:

·         Constance Rice, Co-Director of the Advancement Project

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