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THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - July 21, 2016

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*-- Obama holds meeting, publishes open letter, vows to do more for police --*

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday held a White House meeting with the nation's top law enforcement and published an open letter to police as he vowed to spend the remainder of his presidency working to protect police and ease tensions between police and minorities.

The president, well aware of criticism that he hasn't done enough to help police, published an open letter on Twitter to the Fraternal Order of Police in the morning saying "We have your backs." In the afternoon, he met with with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson where they discussed better equipment and training programs.

"There is no contradiction between us protecting our officers, honoring our officers, making sure that they have all the tools they need to do their job safely, and building trust between police officers and departments and the communities they serve," the president said after the meeting. "Those things are complementary, and not contradictory."



The actions came after a string of violence between police and African Americans, including most recently, the killing of three Baton Rouge police officers on July 17 has rattled the country.

"As we bind up our wounds, we must come together to ensure that those who try to divide us do not succeed," Obama said in the letter. "Thank you for your courageous service. We have your backs."

But the president acknowledged after the meeting that fixing the problem would not be easy.

"This is not going to be something we can do just from this office or from the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security," the president said. "This is something that is going to have to be bottom-up."

In the letter, Obama tried to make his support clear and wipe away any appearance of ambivalence.

"Just as your tight-knit law enforcement family feels the recent losses to your core, our Nation grieves alongside you," Obama wrote. "Any attack on police is an unjustified attack on all of us."

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