U.S. lawmakers to meet in Detroit on police strategies

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — A new congressional work group studying police strategies and the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community plans to meet in Detroit on Aug. 30.

The bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group, led by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and the committee’s ranking member, John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, was set up last month to examine excessive use of force by police, police accountability, aggression toward police and related public safety concerns.

Conyers said it’s “imperative” to strengthen the relationship between police and the communities they serve after recent tragedies in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Dallas; Milwaukee; and other communities.

“This is not a new issue or one that will be fixed overnight,” Conyers said in a statement. “However, the Policing Strategies Working Group is a major step in the right direction as we investigate the problems that persist and begin to address them at the federal level.”

Goodlatte said in a statement: “All Americans want to see an end to senseless violence against police officers and citizens, and we in Congress are continuing to look for ways on how best to address this serious problem at the federal level to set the appropriate tone. Much of the hard work needed to solve this problem must happen at the local level.”

Members of the group will meet privately at the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse with Detroit leaders and local law enforcement officials about how they are handling the challenges dividing police and the community and developing ideas for meeting the challenges that remain, the committee says.

The group is holding roundtables and private meetings in search of what Congress can do at the federal level to help.

Also scheduled to attend are Republican Reps. Dave Trott of Birmingham, Doug Collins of Georgia and Dave Reichert of Washington and Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and Robin Kelly of Illinois.

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