FROM: U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Readout of Attorney General Lynch's Visit to Cincinnati, Ohio
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the first stop in her national Community Policing Tour to highlight collaborative programs and policing practices designed to advance public safety, strengthen police-community relations and foster mutual trust and respect. The Attorney General also announced that she will visit Birmingham, Alabama; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; East Haven, Connecticut; Seattle, Washington; and Richmond, California.
The Attorney General was joined by U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart for the Southern District of Ohio, Director Ron Davis for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, Mayor John Cranley for the city Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
While in Cincinnati, the Attorney General met with youth and law enforcement at Chase Elementary School to witness firsthand the city’s Right to Read Program in which Cincinnati police officers work with University of Cincinnati students to mentor and tutor children. At Chase Elementary, the Attorney General played “Jeopardy” with the elementary school students. She, the Attorney General, was gratified to hear how the young students described police as peace keepers and protectors of the community. In her remarks to the students and local officers, the Attorney General said, “It’s tremendous what you’ve been doing,” to show how integral law enforcement can be in the lives of our communities. She also described the innovative approach in Cincinnati as a model for other departments to follow.
After visiting the school, the Attorney General spoke briefly to reporters and took a few questions about her interactions with the children and the importance of community policing.
“What I saw were children being engaged, children learning, children finding that learning can be fun, children learning about senses – about the world around them – at an age where, I think educators will tell you, it is really crucial that we not lose our children and they not fall out of the educational system and that they develop that love for learning,” Attorney General Lynch told reporters. “But I also saw children who were aware of the larger community around them and had a very good sense of what law enforcement does – law enforcement at its best because they are seeing law enforcement at best. So in their interactions in the future they will have that context into which to put them as well as law enforcement will have those interactions into which to put them.”
The Attorney General also visited the Cincinnati Police Department for a meet and greet with police officers. She commended the department’s efforts to reach out to the community, saying, “It's very easy for the cameras to show up when something's on fire, but we also want them to see the work that you're doing day in and day out.” She also thanked the officers on behalf of the Justice Department for the “hard work” they do every day and spoke to officers that were hired with COPS Office hiring grants. The Justice Department through its COPS Office yesterday announced five separate grant funding opportunities of up to $163 million for law enforcement agencies to help implement the recommendations made by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Following her meeting with police officers, the Attorney General ate lunch with U.S. Attorney Stewart, COPS Director Davis, and Cincinnati Police Chief Blackwell at local restaurant Skyline Chili.
Following a tour led by the curator of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Attorney General convened a meeting with city officials, law enforcement, local and faith leaders, young people and other members of the community to discuss ways in which the success Cincinnati has seen in building trust between law enforcement and the community can be replicated in cities across the nation.
“Every city deserves an outstanding, world-class police force that works alongside local residents to protect public safety,” said Attorney General Lynch. “And every officer deserves the tools, training, and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.” Her full remarks can be found here.
The Attorney General also visited with Department of Justice employees at the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. Following that meeting, the Attorney General met with the family of John Crawford III, a 22-year African-American man, was shot and killed by a Beavercreek, Ohio police officer inside a Wal-Mart store while Crawford held a BB gun.