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White House hosts terror forum for police

WASHINGTON -- State and local law enforcement officials convened at the White House Wednesday for a daylong discussion about how police can maintain the trust of their communities while identifying and preventing violent extremism and homegrown terrorism.

The Obama administration considers such efforts critical to national security.

Violent extremism has erupted across the United States in the past few years, motivated by ideologies, whether a violent interpretation of Islam or white supremacist beliefs.

Police have been finding themselves struggling to identify ideologues who plan to commit violence among the many others who hold similar beliefs but have no intention of hurting anyone.

While the White House conference did not broach the issues between the NYPD and New York's Muslim community, the consistent message was that police cannot violate public trust, said Massachusetts Police Commissioner Robert Haas.

Haas was among 46 senior federal, state and local law enforcement officials who took part in the event that was closed to the public.

Communities that have solid relationships with the police feel empowered to come forward with tips about suspicious activity, he said. "We don't want to be seen as taking a step back and violating that trust that we have with folks."

-- AP

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