Today, President Trump issued an executive order calling for a national database of police misconduct; new de-escalation training and credential guidelines; and increased coordination between law enforcement, social workers and mental health professionals.

“This is a good first step, but we need comprehensive police reform to sweep into every city that employs peace officers, with proposals from local governments and leaders in Congress,” said R Street Institute Director of Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Arthur Rizer. “We need to repair the trust between our officers and communities, so police can help keep our neighborhoods safe without expecting Americans to sacrifice our rights or our lives, especially in our communities of color. Further, we need to demilitarize our police immediately. For too long we’ve been training and equipping our officers like soldiers prepared to engage and destroy the enemy. We need to reform law enforcement so they protect and serve our communities instead.”

“The president’s focus on data collection is critical because we need to know which law enforcement officers should be held accountable, particularly when they transfer from one jurisdiction to another. Additionally, partnering police officers with professionals who can best deal with mental illness, addiction and homelessness is a long-overdue reform that every local community should embrace.”

Rizer, a U.S. Army combat veteran who spent time as a police officer and as a federal prosecutor, brings a unique perspective on the issues, as he and R Street have championed meaningful reforms to our law enforcement and criminal justice systems for years.

Congress is also busy reviewing criminal justice reform proposals this week. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a full committee hearing on Police Use of Force and Community Relations today, and the House Judiciary Committee will take up the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Wednesday.

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