Washington, DC – Today, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) launched a new initiative to produce, advance and enact meaningful reforms to address police violence and patterns of racial discrimination. The Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group will take on the urgent task of outlining a series of specific recommendations related to America’s policing practices to help end the injustices facing black Americans. The Working Group is composed of the mayors of Chicago, Tampa, and Cincinnati, and the police chiefs of Baltimore, Phoenix and Columbia and will be assisted by other experts in the field with the goal of releasing actionable recommendations in the coming weeks.

“The nation’s mayors are committed to dismantling the systemic racism that exists in our country. Black Americans have been denied the promise of equality and justice in this country for too long, and that must end now. The recent killings of innocent black people have highlighted once again that there is much work to do with revising and improving the policies and practices of our police departments. We must do better, and we must start this work immediately,” said Bryan K. Barnett, USCM President and Mayor of Rochester Hills, MI. “That’s why mayors will lead not just in words, but in action. Every level of government has a role to play, but we will not wait for others. Mayors are going to lead this fight. The forms of racism afflicting black Americans are many, but this task force will be focused on the policing and racial justice issues that have proven so urgent. I am proud of the leadership demonstrated by mayors in recent days and I have every confidence that this collective effort will help create real change and forge a path towards a better future.”

“Our work towards police reform has never been more important than it is today, and I am proud to partner with the USCM to create a roadmap for cities to implement transparent and actionable police reforms to which we can hold ourselves accountable,” said Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago, IL and Chair of USCM’s Criminal and Social Justice Standing Committee. “This is about generational discrimination in our communities, and police accountability is a crucial part of the work that needs to be done to address this issue in a holistic manner.”

“It is an honor to serve alongside Mayor Lightfoot and Mayor Castor to take on the very urgent task of police reform in America,” said John Cranley, Mayor of Cincinnati, OH and Chair of USCM’s Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force. “In Cincinnati we have lived this strife and 18 years ago were able to heal by working very hard to improve police community relations through the Collaborative Agreement.  It was then and continues to be considered one of the best police community reform initiatives in the country. I am proud that I can share what we have experienced for the benefit of the country.”

“As a 31-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department and former Police Chief I could not think of a more important conversation to be having right now than this,” said Jane Castor, Mayor of Tampa, FL. “Generational and systemic racism didn’t happen overnight and we won’t fix it overnight but we must self-reflect and create progressive, actionable, transparent and accountable solutions.”

“We are at a moment where we can instill real change with police reform,” said Charles Ramsey, Advisor to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, former police chief in Philadelphia and Washington, DC and Co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. “The brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer has galvanized the nation and the calls from citizens and police chiefs alike to address longstanding racial injustice gives me great hope that progress can be made. Mayors and police chiefs have an opportunity now to redouble their efforts to develop law enforcement policies that will save lives and strengthen the public trust. I look forward to joining this group of mayors and police chiefs as we work to ensure true and lasting change.”

USCM President Barnett has appointed the following Mayors, Police Chiefs, and experts to the working group:


Lori E. Lightfoot, Chicago

Jane Castor, Tampa

John Cranley, Cincinnati

Police Chiefs

Michael Harrison, Baltimore

Jeri Williams, Phoenix

W.H. “Skip” Holbrook, Columbia, SC

Additional Counsel:

Charles Ramsey, Advisor to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and Former Washington, DC Police Chief, and Co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

Ron Davis, Executive Director, President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and Director, COPS Office

Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Mayors