When Kamala Harris won her first election for San Francisco district attorney in 2003, the office’s relationship with the city police force was in tatters. She promised to rebuild trust, but the goodwill didn’t last. Three months after Harris took office, a young city police officer was shot and killed. Harris quickly said she wouldn’t seek the death penalty for his killer, instead opting for life without parole. She’d run as a death penalty opponent, but her move surprised and angered police. “This was a symbolic thing to them of respect,” said Debbie Mesloh, Harris’ then-communications director. While Harris made it her top priority to win a conviction for the officer´s killer, her relationship with police was “really challenged for a long time.” Harris sometimes struggled to navigate her complicated relationship with police when she sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year. Law enforcement leaders never fully embraced her, and some progressives also viewed her warily. She’s getting a second chance as Joe Biden’s running mate, joining the Democratic ticket at a moment of deep reckoning in the US about policing and systemic racism. She’s drawing on her past to take a leading role in the campaign to counter President Donald Trump’s argument that Americans would be less safe under a Biden presidency.