Police conference held in Philadelphia

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Police conference held in Philadelphia. Katherine Scott reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on October 21, 2017. (WPVI)

Philadelphia pipes and drums played at the Pennsylvania Convention Center as the International Association of Chiefs of Police opening ceremony got underway.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Richard Ross welcomed local, state, and federal authorities to Philadelphia for the conference that draws thousands from across the country and world.

"We are proud to be experiencing a 40 year low in our crime rate and look forward to seeing the progress that comes out of this conference, said Mayor Kenney.

"We have to be willing to think outside the box, not rest on our laurels, and be innovative," added Commissioner Ross.

The event includes keynote speakers, panels, and workshops.

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said, "It's a way to come together and learn from one another and stay current with policing around the country."

Zachary Flores, Chief of police of the Sherman Police Department in Texas, said, "To network with people outside our own area, and see what other people are doing across the country."

The conference overlaps with the Major City Chiefs Association fall meeting which began Thursday and included Attorney General Jeff Sessions as one of the weekend's speakers.

Sessions spoke about efforts to reduce crime.

"In the coming months, the department will award $100 million in grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire more police officers," Sessions said.

Outside the conference, protesters gathered, blocking 12th and Arch and later marching through Center City streets.

Philly For Real Justice called to abolish police, they say, in light of sustained police terror and oppression in minority and impoverished communities. They refused to be interviewed by media.

"We don't talk to them because all they're going to do is spin it in favor of the cops," one protester said.

Police say two officers were injured in the protest and were in stable condition. Two people were taken into custody.

Attorney General Sessions is expected back in town on Monday. The conference runs until Tuesday.
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