One of America's most powerful sheriffs opened up in an exclusive interview with Crime Watch Daily about the strained relationship between law enforcement and many minority communities in the United States.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell took office Dec 1, 2014, after working to rid the department of corruption and abuse. His predecessor, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, is now involved in a federal corruption trial after losing an election against McDonnell.
McDonnell admits he has plenty of work to do in Los Angeles County, but says the state of policing across the country needs to change as well.
“We need to talk about it. We need to be open and honest about the challenges that we face,” McDonnell said. “If we made a mistake, we own the mistake. We fix it, we move forward,” he adds. McDonnell is also quick to lament recent attacks on law enforcement across the country. “[Violence against police is] almost on some corners condoned or rationalized and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
While emphasizing that individual officers need to act as "ambassadors" for their departments, he added that problems between law enforcement and citizens are not always one-sided.
"I don't think we've seen (a fair shake from the media) in the last couple years, certainly. I think there's been a rush to judgement in a lot of these cases that have gotten national notoriety. I don't think that's fair to the individual officers, the departments or the communities they serve."
For more, tune in to Crime Watch Daily Thursday, March 31.