SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The president of an organization of police chiefs meeting in San Diego apologized Monday for conditions that have led to mistrust of law enforcement in minority communities.
Terrence Cunningham, who leads the International Association of Chiefs of Police, also said current officers are not responsible for injustices of the past.
"While we obviously cannot change the past, it is clear that we must change the future,'' Cunningham said in remarks delivered at the San Diego Convention Center.
"We must move forward together to build a shared understanding,'' he said. ``We must forge a path that allows us to move beyond our history and identify common solutions to better protect our communities.''
His statements come on the heels of a series of fatal shootings that have shocked both the public and law enforcement.
In Southern California alone, recent incidents include the killing of an apparently distraught man holding a vape inhaler in El Cajon; a San Diego gang suppression officer shot dead during a traffic stop; a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant shot execution-style when he responded to a burglary call in Lancaster; and a pair of Palm Springs officers  gunned down after responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Public trust of police around the U.S. has deteriorated over the past couple of years after a series of fatal shootings of black men.
"Events over the past several years have caused many to question the actions of our officers and has tragically undermined the trust that the public must and should have in their police departments,'' Cunningham said. "At times such as this, it is our role as leaders to assess the situation and take the steps necessary to move forward.''
He also said that at its core, policing is a ``noble profession made up of women and men who have sworn to place themselves between the innocent and those who seek to do them harm.''
He pointed out that thousands of police officers have died in the line of duty over the years to protect their communities.
The conference lineup on Tuesday, the last day of the gathering, includes a session on "critical issues'' facing police departments like targeted violence and mass casualty attacks, civil disturbances and attacks targeting police.