Attorney General Eric Holder announced Dec. 1 that the U.S. Justice Department will be updating its guidance on racial profiling.

Eric Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks to members of the community during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, in Atlanta. Holder traveled to Atlanta to meet with law enforcement and community leaders for the first in a series of regional meetings around the country. The president asked Holder to set up the meetings in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

“In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement, which will institute rigorous new standards – and robust safeguards – to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” Holder said. “This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”

The retooled guidelines were announced as part of a suite of reforms the Obama administration announced this week in the wake of the grand jury decision in the police-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and resulting worldwide protests.

“The problems we must confront are not only found in Ferguson…. We are dealing with concerns that are truly national in scope and that threaten the entire nation,” Holder said.  Broadly speaking, without mutual understanding between citizens – whose rights must be respected – and law enforcement officers – who make tremendous and often-unheralded personal sacrifices every day to preserve public safety – there can be no meaningful progress.

“But the issue is larger than just the police and the community,” he continued. “Our overall system of justice must be strengthened and made more fair.  In this way, we can ensure faith in the justice system.  Without that deserved faith, without that reasoned belief, there can be no justice.”

Protesters interrupt U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as speaks to members of the community during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, in Atlanta. Holder traveled to Atlanta to meet with law enforcement and community leaders for the first in a series of regional meetings around the country. The president asked Holder to set up the meetings in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In addition to the updated racial profiling policy, the administration announced plans to implement better oversight and consistency in the distribution of military hardware to state and local police; invest more than $200 million in body-worn cameras for law enforcement and other steps.

Several of the initiatives were among the recommendations offered by civil rights groups to address the problems highlighted by Brown’s death and those of several other unarmed Black males at the hands of police. “We firmly believe that if these recommendations are implemented they would have a profound effect upon reducing violence and restoring confidence in law enforcement by communities of color,” said Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, when the coalition announced the proposals back in August, just after Brown’s fatal shooting.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, center, meets with law enforcement and community leaders for a roundtable discussion at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, in Atlanta. President Barack Obama instructed Holder to set up regional meetings on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve in the wake of clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Missouri. The Atlanta event Monday is the first one. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Holder made the announcement in an address at the renowned Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the attorney general and other Justice officials joined in the first of several meetings with law enforcement, civic, and community leaders around the country.

“It was here at Ebenezer Baptist, well over half a century ago, that our nation’s greatest advocate for justice, for peace, and for righteousness…Dr. King set out not merely to change our laws, but to change the world – and to pull the country he loved ever closer to its founding principles,” Holder said.

“It’s clear that our nation continues to face persistent challenges – along with the countless opportunities that Dr. King helped make possible,” Holder continued. “As we recommit ourselves to the cause with which he entrusted us, it’s apparent that our nation’s journey is not yet over.  And so we return once more to this hallowed place to seek shelter from a terrible storm – a storm that I’m certain we will weather, so long as we continue to stand united – and unafraid to address realities too long ignored.”