"Very impressive exchange of ideas:" Mayor Barrett reflects on White House Ferguson summit

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On Monday, December 1st, one week after a grand jury in Ferguson decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a White House summit focused on repairing the broken trust between police officers and the people they serve. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was one of a handful of leaders from across the nation who attended that summit.

Mayor Barrett says President Obama is personally invested in helping repair relationships between police officers and citizens in places where they've been strained.

President Obama has formed a "Task Force in 21st Century Policing" and it's a move that has Milwaukee leaders talking.

"There's a lot of distrust going on right now. They job is to protect us.  We shouldn't have to be afraid of the police," Randall Cole said.

"The problem is, the community don't trust the police officers, because there's no relationship anymore," Douglas Miller said.

There is a conversation taking place in virtually every corner of America about the relationship between police officers and protesters, following the grand jury decision out of Ferguson. That conversation has extended to the White House.

President Obama invited 25 people to the White House for a summit Monday, December 1st.

"It was a very impressive exchange of ideas. We have to make sure there is trust between the community and police departments," Mayor Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett says he's proud of the Milwaukee Police Department's handling of protests in Milwaukee. Supporters and family members of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton have been demonstrating since Hamilton was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer in Red Arrow Park in April.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says as the smoke settles in Ferguson, there's something his department can learn.

"We've sent people to Ferguson to learn from their experience both positive and negative," Chief Flynn said.

Meanwhile, President Obama is looking for concrete solutions to resolve disputes. He is asking Congress for funding to purchase body cameras for police officers. A small number of officers in Milwaukee are already wearing body cameras. They were tested in Milwaukee this summer.

"We'd like to get several hundred. We're not there yet, but if we can get some federal dollars, that would help us a lot," Mayor Barrett said.

Douglas Miller, a Milwaukee barber, says body cameras and conversation would help.

"There's a breakage in communication between law enforcement and the community. Somehow the relationship has to be reconnected," Miller said.

President Obama says he wants to limit the use of military-style body armor and vehicles by police forces in the country. Mayor Barrett says that type of equipment is rarely used in Milwaukee -- saying it's only brought out in "very serious" situations.

CLICK HERE for further coverage on Ferguson via FOX6Now.com.