Latest Police Shootings Highlight Struggle for Reform | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Latest Police Shootings Highlight Struggle for Reform

A federal police reform panel has recommended instilling a "sanctity of life" philosophy in officers

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    AP, File
    In this Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, photo provided by Johnny Nguyen, Portland police Sgt. Bret Barnum, left, and Devonte Hart, 12, hug at a rally in Portland, Ore., where people had gathered in support of the protests in Ferguson, Mo.

    The two police shootings that reignited public outrage this week happened in starkly different cities under dissimilar circumstances, but together they illuminate America's ongoing struggle to mend deep rifts between police and the communities they serve, NBC News reports.

    Police killings — those that are justified and those that aren't — often stem from that mutual suspicion, and also exacerbate it, particularly as more of them are caught on video and shared on social media, law enforcement officials and researchers say.

    "These shootings create so many problems," said Jim Bueermann, a former chief of police in Redlands, California, who now runs the Police Foundation, a research and advocacy organization.

    President Obama referred Thursday to a federal blueprint for police reform that centered on building trust and improving public perceptions of police legitimacy, published last year by a panel he appointed. Among the myriad recommendations were the adoption of comprehensive policies on the use of force that placed a "clearly stated 'sanctity of life' philosophy" in the front of officers' minds.