LITTLE ROCK — Public distrust of law enforcement officers makes reducing violent crime more difficult, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a talk Monday in Little Rock.
“We see the mistrust within the communities that we serve,” Lynch said at the the fall summit of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Violence Reduction Network. “We see the underlying fear in our friends and our neighbors.”
The Violence Reduction Network was created in 2014 with five member cities as a way for the Justice Department to work collaboratively with communities to address the problem of violent crime. Lynch announced Monday that Jackson, Miss., and Nashville Tenn., are joining the network, which will bring the current total to 15, Little Rock and West Memphis among them.
She also said the Justice Department will provide more than $20 million to more than 100 law enforcement agencies to establish or increase the use of body cameras and more than $33 million to 28 jurisdictions to help them inventory, test and track backlogged sexual assault test kits.
“We know that these issues also deal with important aspects of trust and reliance on our system, and together these grants will help law enforcement agencies promote transparency, ensure accountability, but also deliver long-delayed justice,” she said.
Lynch said trust and cooperation between law enforcement officers and the public is “vital to every aspect of public safety.”
“The cooperation that we are looking to foster, the cooperation that we are looking to ensure, that’s the hallmark of this Violence Reduction Network,” she said.
Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason announced an additional $13.6 million to help develop innovative, data-driven approaches to crime; reduce and more effectively prosecute gun crimes and increase public safety through community-based partnerships.