On Monday, Speaker Ryan hosted police chiefs from across the country in Janesville to discuss tensions between police and the communities they serve.

“We’re not here to ask for anything,” Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum told Speaker Ryan. “We’re here because we look to you as an American leader, and we think there’s a good story here.” 

As Speaker Ryan said at the meeting, “I can’t think of a better day to have a conversation about this than MLK Day. Because it’s all about making sure that we get communities to work with each other.”

The first step to alleviating tensions is understanding. Speaker Ryan plans to continue these conversations with law enforcement and community leaders in the days and months ahead. These aren’t easy discussions, but they’re necessary to make progress. 

“This is in dire need in America, and I think we witnessed, especially last year, how if we don’t get this right, communities will be destroyed, lives will be lost, families will be separated,” Speaker Ryan continued. “And no one wins in that kind of situation.”

The brainstorming session focused on a bottom-up approach to addressing new techniques and confidence-building measures at the local level. As detailed in the Janesville Gazette, these ideas ranged from improving our mental health system to innovative deadly force training programs.

"What interests me is how do you go about getting this story told and getting more departments like Janesville to implement the best practices,” Speaker Ryan said.

Read more:

  • "PERF Exeuctive Director Chuck Wexler says officers learn techniques to slow down threatening situations to avoid the use of force. . . . Janesville Police Chief David Moore, whose department sent six officers to the training last month and plans to train all of its officers over the next three years, hopes others across the country will follow suit."  —AP: U.S. Police Chiefs Meet With Paul Ryan In His Hometown
  • “I think [Speaker Ryan’s] genuinely interested in things that will build trust between police and the community. He recognizes that any time police can reduce the use of force in encounters with citizens, it’s better government. . . . I think he’s excited to see the ways that local police can improve outcomes with citizens while at the same time keep cops safe.” —Chief Brandon del Pozo, Burlington Police Department
  • “It’s important for the chief to have these conversations, especially with the incoming administration. . . . There are a lot of questions on how the new administration will deal with certain issues here like the consent decree, so it’s crucial he’s engaging in this dialogue.” —Donovan Livaccari, Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans