by Molly Daly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a week in which two African American men were shot and killed by police, and five Dallas police officers were gunned down by a sniper, the co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing says more needs to be done to ease the tensions between law enforcement and the communities they protect.
In an interview on CNN, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says while the task force recommendations are good, he believes they should go further, and could start by shifting the investigation of police involved shootings away from local authorities.
“We just simply lack the credibility to be able to do this in a way that convinces the public that it’s fair and impartial,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey says one way to do that would be for the Attorney General to establish regional task forces to independently investigate such incidents.
And the veteran lawman says a regional approach would help create consistency among the nation’s police departments.
“We have about 18,000 police departments. It’s hard to have consistency in policy, training, procedures. Merge a lot of these departments. I think a goal ought to be within 10 years to cut the number of departments in half,” he said.
He says change won’t come overnight, but it has to start now.
“These things are longterm, but they’ve gotta be addressed and they’ve gotta be fixed or we’re not gonna ever get out of this,” Ramsey said.