Law Enforcement

This Mission Monday we explore our ideas on supporting law enforcement to increase training, reduce unnecessary interactions, and create transparency for all. As Democrats, we support the brave members of our community who serve as Law Enforcement Officers.


On the national, state, and local level we all recognize the issues, inequalities, and failures of the criminal justice system. No person should fear for their lives when interacting with police. It is unacceptable that 1,000 people are killed each year by police (one quarter being black) since 2015 [1]. Together we can create a system that protects, defends, and create security in our community.


This post is but one in a long series of criminal justice policies that we Democrats propose as part of our platform. Beyond training and body cameras, we believe in the power of mental health professional response teams, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, changing the laws allowing minors to be charged severely as an adult—especially with sentences of life without parole, and many more. Watch for new posts each week on these issues. You can also read more at the state and national party platform level.


Read below for our ideas on body cameras and training:



Part of our policies on improving the criminal justice and law enforcement system include body cameras and additional training:


Body Cameras for Law Enforcement:

According to research, more than 50% of police departments in the United States use body cameras in the field on a day-to-day basis [2]. While some reports determine body cameras to be less effective than expected, Democrats recognize that body cameras are not a panacea [3]. However, body cameras have been shown to reduce citizen complaints, provide additional evidence in trials, and increase peace of mind for citizens and officers alike [2]. Most notably, body camera footage was used in the trial of Dereck Chauvin, who was convicted of manslaughter and murder in the killing of George Floyd.


We support increasing the use of body cameras as a tool of evidence, and ensuring police department's have the funding to do so. Body cameras are just one tool in toolbox to repairing our criminal justice system. Reducing police interactions, increasing training, among other things are also solutions that will work in tandem to improve our system.


Additional Training for Law Enforcement:

We must ensure our police forces have the training they need to effectively keep our communities safe. We believe all officers should be trained in conflict resolution, de-escalation, and use of force levels. A recent study demonstrates that just 8 hours of such training resulted in "26 percent fewer citizen complaints, reported 28 percent fewer use-of-force incidents, and logged 36 percent fewer injuries" [4]. These evidence based policies exist, and we must implement them to create a truly fair criminal justice system.


Moreover, we support training in nonviolent tactics, implicit bias, and peer intervention. These trainings are important both in the academy and on-the-job follow up trainings. Removing racial and religious profiling and biases, and encouraging alternative solutions to use of force ensure the safety and peace in our communities. We believe we must make sure all departments have the resources to mandate these trainings across the board.


Together we can:

  1. Support & elect candidates who support these ideas and the principles behind them

  2. Demand our elected officials pass these laws and work to better our criminal justice system

  3. Learn about evidence-based policies such as these to create safe communities


As we said, these are but two solutions in a series of ideas to improve our criminal justice system. Check out our platform, and be on the lookout for further posts on the criminal justice system and law enforcement. Join us and take action as a volunteer, make a donation, or come to an event!

Sources:

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/investigations/police-shootings-database/

[2] https://www.npr.org/2021/04/26/982391187/study-body-worn-camera-research-shows-drop-in-police-use-of-force

[3] https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/research-body-worn-cameras-and-law-enforcement#:~:text=A%20comprehensive%20review%20of%2070,or%20no%20statistically%20significant%20effects.

[4] https://www.apmreports.org/story/2021/06/24/21-states-still-dont-require-deescalation-training-for-police#:~:text=Experts%20in%20policing%20say%20de,logged%2036%20percent%20fewer%20injuries.