Attorney General Loretta Lynch praises Phoenix police training

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks at a press conference while visiting the Phoenix Police Academy. (Photo by David Marino Jr./Cronkite News)

Phoenix Police prepare to perform de-escalation training, as Attorney General Loretta Lynch looks on. (Photo by David Marino Jr./Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Tuesday praised Phoenix police training to reduce use of force, saying it is a model for departments across the country.

Lynch’s visit, part of a national tour on community policing, was marked by a chance encounter at the airport with former President Bill Clinton and came the same day as a terrorist attack at the Istanbul, Turkey airport.

She took what police called a “sensitive” phone call at the stop at the Phoenix Police Academy but did not say what it involved.

She said she was waiting to be briefed on the Istanbul Ataturk Airport attack that killed 28 people and wounded 60 people.

Lynch said she ran into former President Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Monday night. She said investigations of Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, regarding the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email server did not come up.

Grandchildren, Phoenix golf and the Brexit decision for Britain to leave the European Union were the topics of conversation, she said.

She said President Barack Obama’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president would not affect the Justice Department’s investigation of her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

Lynch said the Justice Department is still investigating the Maricopa County polling debacle during the March presidential preference election. She did not say when the investigation would be done.

Instead, Lynch spoke glowingly of the Phoenix Police Department’s mental health programs and so-called “de-escalation” training, referring to using negotiations and other tools to calm confrontations and reduce the chance of violence.

Lynch visited Phoenix as part of a national community policing tour.

“Let me thank all of you in the Phoenix Police Department for being an example,” Lynch said to veteran officers, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and others.