U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch visits Indianapolis Wednesday

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 13, 2016) – U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called her visit to Indianapolis Wednesday an “eye-opening experience.”

The stop was part of a nationwide tour aimed at improving police and community relations.

“We must do more,” Lynch said. “We must focus not just on the dangers we see, but the dangers we don’t see.”

The Department of Justice has pegged the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department as a nationwide example for its focus on officer safety and wellness.

Lynch attended an IMPD recruit class, met with rank-and-file officers along with community leaders as part of the tour on community policing.

Lynch said IMPD’s program could be used as a nationwide model for focusing heavily on mental and emotional health issues during the recruiting process, along with a set of resources for current officers.

“We’re willing to share this with any department that is struggling nationally,” IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said.

During a round table discussion, Lynch paused to remember Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz, killed last month in the line of duty, an example she said of the dangers police nationwide face daily.

“The thoughts and prayers are with the families, both the families at home and law enforcement families,” she said.

Lynch, though, did acknowledge the difficulties in crafting any federal legislation that would protect officers from potential punishment, who would come forward and ask for help.

“I don’t know if we have a one-size fits all solution,” she said. “But we certainly do want to empower police departments to find ways to reach out for help before an incident occurs.”

The tour is part of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, focusing on building trust and legitimacy, police policy, technology, community policing, crime reduction, training and officer safety and wellness.

Besides Indianapolis, Lynch is visiting Miami, Fayetteville, Los Angeles, Portland and Phoenix.

“The issue of trust between law enforcement and the community is the issue in law enforcement today.”

Lynch also addressed the recent controversy between the Department of Justice and Apple, which demanded the company help investigators unlock the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman in the San Bernardino, Calif. shootings.

“We are certainly reaching a situation where every device is different and present different challenges,” she said. “And we are seeing situations, most recently obviously as was highlighted in the San Bernardino case that was difficult to get into a particular type of phone and operating system. And so that is going to pose challenges to the FBI’s ability to help.”

Lynch said the FBI does stand ready to assist local law enforcement in similar-type issues.

“Our advice to local departments has not changed in terms of dealing with all the different types of electronic media,” she said. “The FBI has always provided assistance where it can to local jurisdictions in conjunction with these devices, be it a phone, be it a computer, if they have the skills, they will try and help.”


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