Senator John Hoeven released the following statement after cosponsoring the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, legislation introduced by Senator Tim Scott, to make important reforms to improve training, accountability and transparency in law enforcement.
“The JUSTICE Act improves the training and accountability of law enforcement to strengthen public safety and work to prevent situations like what happened to George Floyd and other victims of excessive use of force,” said Hoeven. “Instead of defunding the police, this legislation ensures that law enforcement has the resources necessary to protect and serve their communities with better training, accountability and transparency. We appreciate Senator Tim Scott for leading this effort in the Senate and look forward to working with him to ensure that law enforcement are able to do their job with good accountability to the communities they are entrusted to serve and protect.”
Law Enforcement Reform
· The JUSTICE Act strengthens the training methods and tactics throughout law enforcement jurisdictions, especially regarding de-escalation of force and the duty to intervene, providing law enforcement with new funding to do so, and will also end the practice of utilizing chokeholds
· Additionally, the bill will reform hiring practices by providing more resources to ensure the makeup of police departments more closely matches the communities they serve
· The JUSTICE Act also ensures when a candidate is interviewed, the department looking to hire will have access to their prior disciplinary records
o Too often, after a tragic incident, we have learned the offending officer had a disciplinary past in another jurisdiction of which their current employer was unaware
· Studies show that when body cameras are properly used violent encounters decrease significantly
· The JUSTICE Act will put more body cameras on the streets, and ensure that departments are both using the cameras and storing their data properly
· The JUSTICE Act also requires a report establishing best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension, and discipline of law enforcement officers
· Currently, only about 40 percent of police officers from jurisdictions nationwide report to the FBI after an incident where an officer has discharged his or her weapon or used force.
· The bill will require full reporting in these two areas
· There is also very little data as to when, where and why no knock warrants are used, and the JUSTICE Act will require reporting in this area as well
· The JUSTICE Act will finally make lynching a federal crime
· It also creates two commissions to study and offer solutions to a broader range of challenges facing black men and boys, and the criminal justice system as a whole