MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - The White House had some special visitors on Friday, when members of the Mount Vernon Police Department met with President Barack Obama to discuss 21st Century policing.
Over the weekend, Mount Vernon Police Sgt. Jennifer Carpenter, Commissioner Shawn Harris, Det. Dave Clarke and Officer Karen Buddenhagen were on hand for Obama’s briefing about ways to peacefully improve policing throughout the country.
During their time in Washington, D.C., the officers shared stories about their time on the streets with their peers, discussed their experiences in Mount Vernon and some of the lessons that they’ve learned as they implement modern technology and policing in the department.
Carpenter said that following several fatal police-involved shootings recently, it is more important now than ever for law enforcement officials to meet and determine the best ways to improve cohesion in the community.
“We are equipping the Mount Vernon Police Department to be a leader, guardian and friend to the community. The tragic deaths in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minneapolis did not have to happen,” she said. “Every day, I am reminded of the importance of being with the people we serve.
“The 21st century policing model is about identifying what works for the community and what does not. Police officers must be problem-solvers and be engaged in the community to strengthen the public safety.”
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas noted that these types of summits can be important for community police forces.
“We cannot allow hate to fill the void of understanding. We cannot allow fear to force us into making emotional decisions,” he said in a statement. “We cannot turn away from confronting a simple truth, that is, change comes with immense challenge. We must hold onto hope and rediscover our spirit of courage to intelligently address issues of race, racism and violence. We can conquer false perceptions by driving honest dialogues on uncomfortable realities on both sides of the badge.”