Head of police organization issues apology for mistakes in the past

Chief Terrence Cunningham acknowledges police and citizens have "a mutual obligation to work together."

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Chief Terrence Cunningham spoke at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego on Monday. Chief Cunningham acknowledged the injustices of law enforcement in the past, but stressed today’s officers should not be held accountable.

22News spoke with Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper about her thoughts on the speech. “I think, in general, it’s nice to have the leadership of law enforcement make statements that are recognizing what’s gone on in our history,” she said. “I think it’s an important first step in a long conversation of where we need to be with race relations right now.”

Cunningham said the first steps to move forward is acknowledging “a mutual obligation to work together.” He said that continued mistrust “can’t bridge the gap between law enforcement and different segments of the community.”

Cunningham is the police chief in Wellesley, Massachusetts and received a standing ovation for his comments.