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Eugene Police Chief Reflects on South Carolina Shooting

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Eugene Police
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The shooting of an unarmed African American man by a police officer in South Carolina this week has people talking about the videotaping of police. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns.

The officer involved in the shooting in South Carolina was arrested for murder after a citizen released a video that shows him shooting the man while he was running away. Chief Kerns says his officers are selected and trained carefully. He says Eugene police are expected to treat everyone with respect but at the same time be prepared to defend themselves from a deadly assault.
Kerns: "The lesson we take is that we cannot take for granted the trust that we have with our community and we have to constantly work to ensure we're doing our jobs appropriately as well as we possibly can and we understand the fears and the sensitivities that our community has so that our practices accommodate those."

Some Eugene Police officers wear body cameras. Kerns says they plan to get more of them. And he welcomes citizens to videotape police interactions. Last week there was an officer involved shooting in Eugene that resulted in the death of an armed suspect.  The use of deadly force is still under investigation and the officer is on paid leave.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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