- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder praised the Justice Department’s community outreach program Wednesday on its 20th anniversary.

“You have forged strong relationships — and unbreakable bonds — between law enforcement leaders and community members,” Mr. Holder told a gathering of the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

“Over the years, this work has paid dividends — in lives improved and saved; in communities strengthened and made more secure; in law enforcement officers made safer; and in taxpayer resources used more effectively,” Mr. Holder said.

The COPS program has recently been at the forefront of the department’s investigation into racial tensions surrounding Ferguson. While the FBI has been investigating accusations of discrimination at the police department, the program has been working to train St. Louis-area law enforcement officers on better community relations and crowd control techniques.

Mr. Holder even named Ferguson in his speech as an area where COPS was “providing intensive training and technical assistance to help law enforcement agencies respond to issues arising from specific incidents.”

Mr. Holder contended that setting up partnerships between federal, state and local law enforcement has had a dramatic effect around the nation, saying people need look no further than their own backyards for proof.

“I served as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia at a time when Washington was a city in crisis, suffering from an epidemic of crime and corrosive antagonism between residents and law enforcement,” he said. “In the years since, this city’s U.S. Attorney’s Office has had striking success in bringing down crime rates in the District.”

Mr. Holder said he expects COPS to be in good hands under nominee Loretta Lynch, and said he has “no doubt that the next 20 years can bring even more of the positive change that we have seen over the last 20.”

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