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January 14, 2017

Camden police chief to meet with Paul Ryan on Monday to talk policing standards

Camden County Police Department Chief J. Scott Thomson will join a handful of law enforcement officials from across the country next week to meet with Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to talk national policing standards, Camden officials announced Saturday.

The group is slated to discuss ways that departments across the country are approaching de-escalation situations, tactical positioning and decision-making when it comes to using force during a meeting on Monday in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan's hometown.

“Community policing cannot be a program, unit, strategy or tactic. It must be the core principle which lies at the foundation of a police department's culture.” Thomson said in a news statement. “Community policing is not an option; it's an affirmative obligation we have to our customers and clients – the people of Camden.”

The group will elaborate on the standards set in place by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that looks at best practices and community relations, among other topics. The organization was founded in 1976.

Volusia County, Florida Sheriff Mike Chitwood, a former Philadelphia police officer and son of Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood, will also participate in the conversation. Law enforcement leaders from New Orleans, Burlington, Vt., and Janesville are among those who will participate.

Thomson has been praised by federal officials for his work in the past. President Barack Obama highlighted the county's department as an example that "smart community policing really can have an impact" during a panel on criminal justice in 2015. 

Obama called Thomson "outstanding" at the event.

Efforts to better police-community relations have been made across the nation, especially in the past few years. A report from the Department of Justice released Friday showed that the Philadelphia Police Department made great progress on policies, practices and other efforts since 2013.