By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Barrack Obama is calling on Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to lead a national task force, which has the mission to come up with ideas on better policing amid the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
Tensions are high in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb in August.
Obama spent most of Monday discussing ways to prevent the situation in Ferguson from happening elsewhere in the future. The president met with Commissioner Ramsey and other police officials, along with community leaders and clergy for nearly three hours to talk about Ferguson and other racially charged law enforcement confrontations.
“This is not a problem simply of Ferguson, Missouri,” Obama said during a press conference at the White House. “This is a problem that is national.”
The panel is slated to tackle various law enforcement issues, especially in communities where the thick cloud of distrust covers those communities and the cops who serve them.
“That’s all part of the learning process, that’s all part of the education process,” Ramsey said. “Getting a better understand and getting a two-way dialogue around these issues. I see no reason why we can’t overcome these challenges we have today.”
In Ferguson’s aftermath, there has been a call from many about the need for police body cameras. Ramsey is a proponent of cameras. A six-month pilot program is now in effect for some officers in the city’s 22nd District, but the commissioner said the technology can only take them so far.
“Many communities have been left behind, primarily communities of color,” Ramsey said. “The more challenged communities that deal with crime and disorder on a regular basis. The places where police are needed the most are usually where you have the highest amount of tension, and we have to find a way to break through that.”
Ramsey said the task force isn’t just about talk either, it’s about action for the next few months, and then passing along concrete recommendations to the President.
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