PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay wants to see his department return to the original roots of police.

“Police are members of the community; we’re peace officers,” McLay said in a wide-ranging interview with KDKA-TV.

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McLay has repeatedly been a staunch advocate of community-oriented policing since his arrival in Pittsburgh less than a year ago.

McLay said it’s only right that people demand justice from police, adding that “perceptions of justice are developed with effective transparency and lots of communication.”

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For police, it should be back to basics, McLay believes. Part of that is training and re-training officers, who are held to a higher standard.

“If you train officers in physical skills, but you don’t train them how to talk to people when they are dealing with violence, then the type of emotion that normally comes out when you’re dealing with these things [eg: violence] will come to the surface, because cops are people, too,” McLay said.

After the 9/11 attacks, McLay said, “Police looked at people as potential terrorists. Now we’ve got to get back to recognizing that we cannot succeed without the consent of those who we police.”

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