Hermiston Police Chief Meets the President At National Police Ch - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hermiston Police Chief Meets the President At National Police Chief's Conference

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HERMISTON, WA. -- One of our local police chiefs got the experience of a lifetime at a national police chief's conference in Chicago last week, when President Obama spoke.

Regardless of your political views, the President of the United States still holds the most important job in the world. That's why Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said he won't forget what happened to him last week when he came face to face with Mr. Obama. 

Chief Jason Edmiston traveled to Chicago last week, alongside 14,000 other high ranking police officials from around the world, for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

"My focus in going to those events, is to really see what's going on across the nation," Chief Edmiston said. 

But little did he know, he'd have a once in a lifetime experience there. During President Obama's speech, the president spoke about gun control, an issue which has sparked controversy throughout the nation in recent months.

"Just to give you a sense of perspective, since 9/11, fewer than 100 Americans have been murdered by terrorists on American soil," President Obama said. "400,000 have been killed by gun violence."

Chief Edmiston says the president received huge applause when talking about getting high powered assault rifles out of the hands of criminals. But he thinks reducing violence will take much more than just gun control. 

"It's not just gun reform," Chief Edmiston said. "Not just what gun was used in this horrific event. it's what was that person's mental status, was that person able to get services prior to that act?"

Then, after President Obama spoke, it happened. 

"He came right toward us," Chief Edmiston recalled. 

Chief Edmiston and his wife were sitting in the 5th row by the aisle. And the president walked right up to them. The first thing he did was thank the chief's wife for being there. 

"To have the sitting president say thank you to my wife, meant something to me," Chief Edmiston said. "So I saw her shaking his hand and I took two steps to the right and he was still standing there. And I made eye contact, and we shook hands and off we went. To be able to say you shook hands with a sitting president is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity."

It was brief, but memorable for the chief. And while he was of course star struck, Chief Edmiston says the substance of what the president discussed is what really matters to the future of policing across the nation. 

Chief Edmiston says while he doesn't agree with everything President Obama has done during his tenure. He has nothing but respect for the Office of the President. And that President Obama has incredibly soft hands.

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