LA’s former top cop is in Washington this week. He’s talking about the importance of law enforcement agencies reaching out to Muslims in their jurisdictions.
Bill Bratton told a roomful of Muslim activists and policy professionals about the LAPD’s formula for community engagement. In the 1990s, the department reached out to black and Latino young people - in part, to head off gang violence. In the 21st century, the LAPD reached out to Muslims - in part to head off domestic terrorism.
But Bratton said the second outreach effort was different. "Interaction between police and that community I think was a minimum," he said, "because by and large there was not much need for police to be interacting from a crime control standpoint."
Bratton said that generally positive experience gave the LAPD a head start as it created a working relationship with Southland Muslims. "In that I don’t think that there is an alienation among the youth population – the Muslim population – that we experience with – and justifiably – with the African-American or Latino populations."
Bratton said larger police departments like the LAPD have the resources to try similar outreach programs around the country.