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U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno told the largest international organization of police chiefs Monday that police departments were at the vanguard of racial healing in the United States.

"The president and so many other people have contributed countless hours to achieving racial harmony in this country. I want to tell you that nobody can contribute more than a good, sensitive, fair and firm police officer," Ms. Reno said.

"At the same time, there are police officers -- and they are few and far between -- who can disrupt that harmony," she said.

She spoke at the first general session of the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. About 16,000 law enforcement executives were expected to attend the six-day meeting.

She also said the Justice Department was committed to developing a global law enforcement information network next year and a set of laws to deal with crimes in cyberspace.

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