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Mayors: Outside investigations of police shootings

The U.S. Conference of Mayors recommended appointing outside investigators to review police shootings on Thursday.

Mayor Charlie Hales, who is attending the annual conference in Washington DC, could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Mayors stand at the crossroads of their communities. We are the leaders best positioned to bridge the gaps in trust and understanding our residents, all of whom want what is best for our cities,” said USCM President and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

The recommendation was one of a series of proposals in a report on improving community policing released at the conference, following a four-month review of policies and best practices nationwide.

The report was prepared by a working group formed following contoversial police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and an October meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, where over 100 mayors and police chiefs met at the William J. Clinton Center in Little Rock to discuss different community-policing strategies, lessons to be learned from the situation in Ferguson, and ways to build trust between law enforcement and city officials. The group was charged with developing a series of recommendations for local and national actions intended to improve policing.

The full report is intended to inform the work of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Topic areas inlcude:

1. Building police-community trust by interacting with the community to develop relationships.

2. Improving police department practices, including officer recruitment, training and supervision.

3. Assuring timely and accurate communications, including having procedures already in place, using social media.

4. Conducting independent investigations to increase public confidence.

5. Addressing racial and economic disparities by using proven best practices and preventive measures for youth.

6. Providing national leadership by promoting mayor and police-chief relationships, federal financial support for more hiring and training.

The report is available at usmayors.org/83rdWinterMeeting.