Gary Mayor on Buttigieg: Mayors Should Know the Cops, Know the People

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Gary Mayor on Buttigieg: Mayors Should Know the Cops, Know the People

Gary's outgoing mayor says Mayor Pete is doing the best he can, but mayors should be prepared for crises.

HONOLULU--Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said that every mayor must know their community so that they are prepared to handle a crisis, like a police shooting, before it happens. Freeman-Wilson leads the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which met this weekend in Honolulu.

"We talked about the importance of how a mayor and police chief not only address the public when a crisis occurs, but prevent those crises," she said.

Wilson said she believes the mayor is doing his best after the incident in South Bend, where a black man, Eric Logan, was killed last week by a white police officer, but said in general that a mayor must be prepared.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has taken criticism for how the situation was handled. He said in last week's presidential debate that his community is hurting and that "it's a mess". He also addressed the community at a town hall, where his relationship with the black community was called into question.

"What are those things that we can do to train police officers?" asked Freeman-Wilson. "What are those things that we can do to strengthen the relationship between police and the community long before a crisis occurs?"

She said mayors should get to know their officers and the police chief, to know better determine whether to give them the benefit of the doubt during an investigation.

She said mayors have a responsibility as local administrators, but because of what they do on a daily basis, they become fast problem solvers.

"It's that local administration experience. It's being the elected officials along with council members, that are closest to the people, that makes us practical problem solvers at every level, whether you're talking about as governors, as U.S. representatives, as members of the Senate or as presidents."

Madyson McGill contributed to this story.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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