WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Three-and-a-half hours. That’s how long President Obama met with people from across the country Wednesday to discuss police-community relations.
“We have to, as a country, sit down, and grind out it. Solve these problems," said the president.
The president met with elected officials, law enforcement, and members of the Black Lives Matter movement at the White House.
“Just having the opportunity to sit down for several hours with the president – committing that much of his time...I think underscores the importance of this," said Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA).
Edwards and state police superintendent Mike Edmonson attended the round table, which took place a week after two highly publicized police shooting deaths of black men -- one in their state, the other in Minnesota. That was followed by a revenge attack on police officers in Dallas that left five of them dead.
“[They're] very difficult circumstances," said Edwards. "You’ve got a lot of anxiety. You’ve got a volatile situation. But the fact of the matter is, in Louisiana, since the shooting of Mr. Sterling, there’s not been a single act of violence associate with that shooting.”
The group discussed how they can improve police-community relations – from recruitment and training of officers to protecting the rights of protesters. Edwards says, while not everyone agreed on everything, the conversation was constructive.
“We can do better. We can support our police officers better. We can support the minority community better," said Edwards.
The Obama Administration will continue hosting discussions like this as part of the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.