President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the briefing room of the White House, Nov. 24, 2014, in Washington, after the Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Jacquelyn Martin—AP
November 30, 2014 8:21 PM EST

President Barack Obama will hold meetings Monday devoted to reforming and improving law enforcement across the country, a White House official said Sunday evening, months after the police shooting death of an unarmed teenager in Missouri ignited nationwide protests.

“Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country have shined a spotlight on the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect and serve,” the official said. “As the country has witnessed, disintegration of trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve can destabilize communities, undermine the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, undermine public safety, create resentment in local communities and make the job of delivering police services less safe and more difficult.”

The White House announced that Obama will convene a meeting of his Cabinet on Monday afternoon to discuss the review he ordered of the Pentagon’s law enforcement support office, which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars worth of surplus military equipment to local and state law enforcement units around the United States. The initiative, known as the 1033 program, came under scrutiny following alleged heavy-handed tactics on the part of law enforcement in response to protests following Brown’s shooting in August by now-resigned Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

The official said Obama would discuss the actions his administration is taking to reform the program.

Obama plans to meet in the Oval Office with young civil rights leaders to discuss how to heal the divisions between law enforcement and communities of color. He will also meet with elected officials, as well as community, civil rights and faith leaders and law enforcement officials from across the country, to find ways to restore trust between police and the communities they serve.

Later Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to an Atlanta church to convene a meeting with youth, law enforcement and community leaders on the first stop of a nationwide “Building Community Trust” tour.

Speaking last week after the announcement that a grand jury declined to indict Wilson in Brown’s death, Obama said anger at the decision was “understandable” but urged calm as protests broke out in Ferguson and across the country. “We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson,” he said. “This is an issue for America.”

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