Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interim Report of President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing

President of the United States: Barack Obama
The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing has issued an interim report.  The message is simple: protect and serve, work to develop trust.  Eighty five Americans were killed by police last month.  There are plausible expectations for almost all of them.  But necessity not plausibility is what is required for broad public trust of the police.  For that to happen facts like these reported by The Economist must change:
In 2012, according to data compiled by the FBI, 410 Americans were “justifiably” killed by police—409 with guns. That figure may well be an underestimate. Not only is it limited to the number of people who were shot while committing a crime, but also, amazingly, reporting the data is voluntary.
Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.

Some excerpts from the President's task force's interim report:

Guardian principle
1.1 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset to build public trust and legitimacy. Toward that end, police and sheriffs’ departments should adopt procedural justice as the guiding principle for internal and external policies and practices to guide their interactions with the citizens they serve. How officers define their role will set the tone for the community. As Plato wrote, “In a republic that honors the core of democracy—the greatest amount of power is given to those called Guardians. Only those with the most impeccable character are chosen to bear the responsibility of protecting the democracy.” Law enforcement cannot build community trust if it is seen as an occupying force coming in from outside to rule and control the community. 

1.2.1 ACTION ITEM: The U.S. Department of Justice should develop and disseminate case studies that provide examples where past injustices were publicly acknowledged by law enforcement agencies in a manner to help build community trust. 

1.3 RECOMMENDATION: Law enforcement agencies should establish a culture of transparency and accountability in order to build public trust and legitimacy. This will help ensure decision making is understood and in accord with stated policy. 

1.3.1 ACTION ITEM: To embrace a culture of transparency, law enforcement agencies should make all department policies available for public review and regularly post on the department’s website information about stops, summonses, arrests, reported crime, and other law enforcement data aggregated by demographics.
 1.3.2 ACTION ITEM: When serious incidents occur, including those involving alleged police misconduct, agencies should communicate with citizens and the media swiftly, openly, and neutrally, respecting areas where the law requires confidentiality. One way to promote neutrality is to ensure that agencies and their members do not release background information on involved parties. While a great deal of information is often publicly available, this information should not be proactively distributed by law enforcement

1 comment:

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