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Kamala Harris calls for measures to end the 'crisis of confidence' between police and the public

U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Tuesday called for new national policies to reduce recidivism by felons released from prison and to make data on crime and police actions more accessible to the public.

Harris, California’s attorney general, made the comments during a roundtable discussion on criminal justice at Community Coalition in South Los Angeles.

Harris said there is a “crisis of confidence” between law enforcement and communities that must be addressed.  She spoke about how the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota in July and the ambush that killed five Dallas police officers shortly afterward broke “our collective hearts.”

Harris also called for more diversity in law enforcement agencies and additional training to eliminate police bias.

In 2015, Harris launched her agency’s “Open Justice” website, which provides public access to data on arrest rates, in-custody and arrest-related deaths and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted — breaking the numbers down by race and ethnicity, cause of death and other factors.

That is a model of how criminal justice data should be made more transparent nationwide, she said.

“We need to have mandatory data collection. Publication of data,” Harris said.  “Which means, those who have the information have to report it. ... And the place where’s its being reported should make it transparent.”

Harris added that “transparency includes universal protocols around body cameras” for law enforcement officers.

Last year,  Harris stopped short of supporting statewide requirements for officers to wear the body cameras, including legislation by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) to develop statewide standards on how the cameras would be operated and when the footage could be viewed.

Harris, who launched a pilot program on body cameras at the state Department of Justice, had cautioned against using a "one-size-fits-all" approach to regulate their use.

Harris campaign spokesman Nathan Click said there’s been no change in Harris' position. He said her comment Tuesday was in reference to the findings from the pilot program at the Department of Justice.

Harris is running to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer and is being challenged by a fellow Democrat, Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

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