August 18, 2016

In Meeting with Leading Law Enforcement Officials, Clinton Reiterates Commitment to Rebuild Trust Between Police and Communities

At a meeting with several of the nation's leading law enforcement officials Thursday, Hillary Clinton reiterated her commitment to supporting law enforcement and working to rebuild the bonds of trust between police officers and the communities they serve. Clinton was joined by leaders with decades of combined experience leading law enforcement agencies of different sizes, including: New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, New York City Chief of Department James O'Neil, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson, and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The group discussed the challenges and opportunities that exist on policing issues in cities across the country.

Clinton's remarks, as transcribed, are below:

"You can sit down. Bring your chair. Can we get, Jake, can we get more chairs so that everyone that is here can feel like they are apart of it.

Well, good afternoon and thank you all so very much for joining us here at John Jay. I want to thank John Jay for hosting us. I've been here numerous times before as Senator and Secretary of State, and I am very pleased that we could hold this conversation here.

It's really an honor to have this group of distinguished law enforcement leaders with us. Around this table are many decades of combined experience leading departments of all sizes in a variety of cities from across our country. And they represent officers who get up every day, put on their uniforms, kiss their families goodbye and risk their lives on behalf of our communities. And I want to do a lot more listening than talking today, but I just want to say a few words before we begin.

I think it's obvious that recent events from Dallas and Baton Rouge to Milwaukee and across the country underscore how difficult and important the work is ahead of us to repair the bonds of trust and respect between our police officers and our communities. We have to be clear-eyed about the challenges we face. We can't ignore them, and certainly we must not inflame them. We need to work together to bridge our divides, not stoke even more divisiveness. I know, because of my own personal experience going back a number of years, how many officers every single day inspire confidence and make a difference – a difference in an individual's life, a difference in neighborhood's life, a difference in city's life.

And I want to support them, our police officers, with the recourses they need to do their jobs – to do them effectively, to learn from their efforts, and to apply those lessons across our nation. I believe supporting our police officers and improving policing go hand-in-hand. Everyone is safer when there is respect for the law and when everyone is respected by the law. So we have a lot of work to do together, and we don't have a minute to lose and the people around this table are pioneering, they're reforming, they are on top of the debates and concerns that have been expressed over the last couple of years.

And I think we can come together with a sense of shared purpose, and a belief in our common destiny to have a purpose where we go forth united and do everything possible to respond to any legitimate questions, to find answers together and to keep our communities safe, to protect lives and property, while also respecting every single American.

So that's what today is about and I look forward to the conversation, and again I want to thank everyone here, some didn't have to come so far, soon-to-be retired Commissioner Bill Bratton, we will miss you, we thank you for your lifetime of service, from one city, from Boston to L.A., back to New York, we welcome O'Neill, soon-to-be Commissioner, we're excited about that.

I want to thank Chief O'Toole from coming all the way from Seattle, and Chief Magnus, thank you for coming from Tucson, and Chief Beck, thank you for coming from L.A., with a lot of the first-hand experience that we want to hear from. I want to thank Chief Ramsey, I've known him in various incarnations, starting in Washington and in Philadelphia.

And I particularly appreciate his service on President Obama's policing study, which has a lot of good ideas. Sheriff Valdez, thank you for being here, you've been elected three times, as I understand it, by the people of Dallas County, and you're devotion to service, really is well known. And Chief Thomson, thank you for coming from Camden and from the trenches to tell us what's working and how we can do more of that.

And try to create a better dialogue in our communities. So with that, I'm going to let the press have a chance to depart and then we can begin our conversation."


For Immediate Release, August 18, 2016