NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police Commissioner Bill Bratton discussed police relations with the African-American community at a black history awards breakfast Tuesday morning.

The event was held at Greater Allen AME Church of New York in Jamaica, Queens.

Bratton told the audience NYPD officers walk a fine line every day, 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis reported.

“We’ve seen in the past year that police actions can still be a flashpoint,” Bratton said.

Bratton told the audience community relations have been improving, and progress can be shown in the city’s dropping crime rate, Dennis reported.

Bratton said there was more work to do, especially when it comes to recruiting more minority officers.

“We must work together, you and I, to find ways to convince the African-American population that this is a career where you can make a difference,” Bratton said.

Bratton told the audience he believes a more diverse police force will make the NYPD better, Dennis reported.

“It’s a shame. We’re making very strong efforts to try and improve the department, constantly seeking to do that,” Bratton said. “We have seen in the last couple of academy classes some fall off in the percentage of African-Americans in the class.”

Bratton said the department is trying to figure out the cause of the decline.

“We’re taking a top to bottom look to see where we might do a better job,” he added.

Bratton also took the opportunity to take issue with recent criticism of the department’s mandatory officer retraining program, created in the wake of the death of Eric Garner. Bratton defended the training as “very effective,” adding the department has polled officers on their reaction to the training.

“Sixty percent agreed or strongly agreed that it would increase the likelihood that they would only use the minimum amount of force, if necessary. Seventy percent said it would improve their ability to manage conflict in the street,” Bratton said.

The report in the New York Post suggested that the training program won’t work, Dennis reported.

“The disgruntled individual, quite obviously, is not happy with the training,” Bratton said. “Garbage in, garbage out.”



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