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U.S. Attorney General Begins Community Policing Tour In Cincinnati

Tana Weingartner
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch tours a slave pen at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center ahead of Tuesday's summit on community policing.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with city, police and community leaders in Cincinnati Tuesday during the first stop on a multi-city tour discussing new and collaborative policing strategies.

Lynch picked Cincinnati to start her Community Policing Tour because of the success of the city’s historic collaborative policing agreement. The deal was hashed out following riots in 2001 and is now seen as a model for other communities like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.

"For a city to live and grow, everyone has to be invested in making it better and everyone has to decide at some point, we’re going to sit down and talk to each other," said Lynch. "After we’ve all talked at each other, we’re going to talk to each other. And Cincinnati has been able to do that."

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Lynch praised Cincinnati's collaborative policing efforts which followed riots in 2001. She's seen here with current Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.

Lynch says it's easy to visit cities when there's a problem, but it's important to stay focused on those communities when the TV cameras are gone and the people are rebuilding.

Before the summit Lynch met with students at a local elementary school where, she said, the large number of students who said they’d like to be police officers is a testament to the city.

"Then I asked them ‘why do you want to be a police officer?’ And they said things you would expect like 'to stop bad people from hurting people' and 'to protect the community,' and one little boy, one of the smallest kids in the class, said ‘because I want to be a peacemaker.’ And if that isn’t the best description of a law enforcement officer I’ve heard in a long time, I don’t know what is," Lynch said.

Lynch announced she’ll hold similar meetings throughout the summer in Birmingham, Pittsburgh, Richmond, California, Seattle, and East Haven, Connecticut.