Local chief appointed to serve on White House Policing Task Forc - Tucson News Now

Local chief appointed to serve on White House Policing Task Force

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The officer involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and New York have sparked protests over policing all over the country, including here in Southern Arizona.

Now, our own Chief of Police will have a say in how the White House moves forward, after Ferguson. An effort is being made to protect the community, keep the peace, and rebuild trust with communities.

Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor just got word on Thursday, that he was among those selected to serve on President Barack Obama's task force on 21st Century Policing.

Chairing the group will be Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey. Co-chairing will be Laurie Robinson, professor of Criminology, Law, and Society at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Office of Justice Programs.

In a recent interview, Chief Ramsey said that the task force will result in real-world action. Ramsey insisted that he “wouldn't be wasting his time” if mere talk was to be the only outcome.

Chief Villasenor said while there was no formal application process to serve on this task force, he had expressed interest in being a part of it.

"I'm honored, I'm pleased to have input at this level, I think this is a very serious and important topic. I think it's good to have the Southwest border represented in these discussions, particularly all the discussions we've had with immigration and divisions caused within our community and law enforcement, I think this is something the nation can learn from," said Villasenor.

The recent clashes with police nationwide have created tension between law enforcement officers and the public, many officers have said they face more hostility out in the field, than ever before.

Leaders of the task force have said that a key skill for police officers should be “people skills.” Chief Ramsey noted that local police departments needed to start having dialogue with their communities.

"It's about open communication and discussion of accountability and on-going discussion. It's not a one-time thing. It's about establishing relationships,” said Ramsey.

Villasenor is the only law enforcement manager to represent the border communities.

According to an article published on the site: http://1.usa.gov/1AOToF3, Villasenor's credentials are listed as :

Roberto Villaseñor, Appointee for Member, President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing Roberto Villaseñor is Chief of Police for the Tucson Police Department (the TPD), a position he has held since 2009. He joined the TPD in 1980, and has served as Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and as Assistant Chief from 2000 to 2009. Chief Villaseñor was named Officer of the Year for the TPD in 1996, and has been awarded the TPD Medal of Merit three times. He also received the TPD Medal of Distinguished Service. Chief Villaseñor is the incoming President of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and a Board Member of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). He received a B.S. from Park University and an M.Ed. from Northern Arizona University.

In an interview with Tucson News Now, Chief Villasenor said he felt relations with the community in Tucson were good, but there was room for improvement.

"I think there's things we can do better but a lot of things we're being accused of unjustly. To bring the truth into the conversation, it is one of the goals I have," he added.

The Task Force will hold a conference call next week, their first session is expected to be held in Washington, D.C. in mid-January. The Executive Order directs the Task Force to prepare a report and recommendations to be presented to the President. An initial report will be due to the President in March.?

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