- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Monday that while the press exaggerates the divide between police and the communities they serve and it’s not as bad as it’s been in the past, there is still room for improvement.

He told the Major County Sheriffs’ Association/Major Cities Chiefs Association winter meeting that he “grew up with a lot of you guys.”

“Your troops, your officers are the same guys you grew up with who when there was three against one, jumped in with you,” Mr. Biden said in a clip flagged by RealClearPolitics. “Who are the same ones when you [needed] a little bit of help, they were there. The same ones, the people who didn’t let you down. They’re the guys and women I know who became cops.”

He went on to say that being a cop is not what they do, but “who they are.”

“And the fact of the matter is that it’s getting harder and harder to see each other,” he said. “Dr. King said, ‘Men often hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other. And they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate. And they cannot communicate because they are separated.’

“We have to bridge that separation again,” Mr. Biden said. “This is not nearly as bad as it’s been in the past. The press exaggerates how far off this is. But, we have to nip it in the bud.”

In a recent interview with YouTube personality GloZell Green, President Obama said that while the “overwhelming majority” of police officers are performing well in a difficult job, improved training could help people become aware of their biases ahead of time.

The issue has risen to national prominence, and spurred a White House task force, in the wake of two high-profile shooting deaths last year of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island at the hands of white police officers.

“Being able to see each other was the whole theory behind the notion of community policing,” Mr. Biden said. “None of you — none of you women here are old enough, some of you guys are, you remember growing up in your neighborhoods you knew the cop on the block when you were kids, in the ‘50s and ‘60s. I don’t know about the ‘40s.”

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