|Clinton Proposes Five Steps to Reduce Crime and Increase Public Trust in
By Ed Somers
President Clinton used his Saturday radio address on March 13 to respond to recent concern raised regarding incidents of police misconduct and continued reports of racial profiling.
The President began his remarks by expressing strong support for community policing efforts which have significantly lowered crime levels. The President stated, "Community policing has been at the heart of our success, by giving police the chance to get to know the people on their beats, and giving those people a chance to be a part of law enforcement decisions that affect their lives."
The President credited the nations police officers who, "every day put their lives on the line for the rest of us."
However, the President responded to concerns which have been raised by a number of civil rights and community organizations regarding allegations of police misconduct. The President said, "While each specific allegation will have to be dealt with on its own merits, it is clear that we need a renewed determination as a nation to restore those bonds of trust that have been absolutely critical to our success at lowering the crime rate."
The President outline a five-part plan to help in this effort, which calls for:
1) increased federal support for police training;
2) launching of a new nationwide program to help establish Citizen Police Academies that "inform residents about police procedures and teach them new ways to make their own neighborhoods safer";
3) increase funds for minority recruitment in local police forces to help ensure that they reflect the diversity of the communities they serve;
4) included funding to enforce civil rights laws so that, "a few bad police officers do not undermine the progress, and the support, that hundreds of thousands of police officers have worked so hard to earn"; and
5) passage of the Administrations "21st Century Policing Initiative" to reauthorize the COPS program and put 50,000 more officers on the streets and needed technologies.
In demonstrating that these efforts can work, the President credited Bostons effort in which law enforcement and community groups came together to reduce tensions, resulting in a reduction of both crime rates and reports of police misconduct.
The President concluded his remarks by stated that he has asked Attorney General Janet Reno to convene a series of meeting with law enforcement and community leaders to discuss how communities around the country can follow the example of Boston and other successful cities.