Download
Letter to Congress Reaffirming Meaningful, Bipartisan Police Reform
PDF

Letter to Congress Reaffirming Meaningful, Bipartisan Police Reform

June 23, 2021

Senator Tim Scott
United States Senate
104 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Representative Karen Bass
United States House of Representatives 2021 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Cory Booker
United States Senate
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Representative Josh Gottheimer
United States House of Representatives
203 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Dick Durbin
United States Senate
711 Hart Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Brian Fitzpatrick
United States House of Representatives
271 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Lindsey Graham
United States Senate
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Representative Pete Stauber
United States House of Representatives
461 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Members of Congress:

On April 1, 2021, CEO Action for Racial Equity (CEOARE) wrote Congress to urge bipartisan cooperation and work to enact legislation that would support critical measures to rebuild trust and credibility between law enforcement and the communities that they serve. Since then, you have come together to form a bipartisan and bicameral group that is actively working on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (“George Floyd Bill”). We sincerely thank each of you for your continuous effort to help achieve meaningful police reform. Today, CEOARE is writing to reaffirm our support for meaningful, bipartisan police reform. We further believe that meaningful reform must include the creation of a national police misconduct registry because it will help increase accountability and transparency in American policing.

 As business leaders, our businesses prosper where there are thriving communities, but most importantly, as business leaders we have a responsibility to our employees and customers to help make sure that they live and work in safe, strong and healthy communities. We are choosing to use our voice to stand alongside the millions of Americans calling for meaningful police reform. We are stepping up together because acknowledgement of systemic societal racism is not enough. Action is needed.

We acknowledge that the path to police reform requires bipartisan solutions and compromise. We also recognize that certain public safety principles are foundational and should serve as the cornerstone to equitable reform efforts. Accountability and transparency are two such key principles that we believe are sacrosanct. Accountability and transparency help build trust between the police and the communities they serve. For the first time in 27 years, public confidence in law enforcement dipped below 50%, falling five (5) percentage points to 48% between 2019 and 2020[i]. Accessibility to police officers’ disciplinary and legal history would be a critical first step to restoring public confidence in the institution of policing. Without trust and accountability, a police department cannot effectively do its job. Failure to keep communities safe is an unacceptably tragic outcome for our nation.

The evidence shows that police officers who are terminated or resign from departments are often rehired by other law enforcement agencies due to the concealment of applicant misconduct records and/or hiring agencies not having the time or resources to conduct background checks[ii]. The current federal databases, the National Decertification Index (NDI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Excessive Force Database, are incomplete[iii].

They rely on voluntary submissions, report patchwork data from the states and limit data collection to use of force and decertification.

As stated earlier, we acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing bipartisan discussions in Congress on the George Floyd Bill. While discussions are underway to find common ground on meaningful police reform, we recognize that transformational reform may not be embodied in a single legislative measure. It is notable that there is significant bipartisan support for many reform measures in the bill including police misconduct reporting, use of body cameras and de-escalation training. CEOARE urges Congress to enact these critical reform actions including establishing the National Police Misconduct Registry. In our view, inaction at this pivotal moment in our nation’s history is not an option.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment to transforming American policing and for helping preserve the safety of and create equity specifically for the 47 million Black Americans in our country.

 

Sincerely,

CEO Action for Racial Equity

CC:
Hon. Nancy Pelosi
Hon. Chuck Schumer
Hon. Kevin McCarthy
Hon. Mitch McConnell

CEO Action for Racial Equity is a Fellowship of over 100 companies that mobilizes a community of business leaders with diverse expertise across multiple industries and geographies to advance public policy in four key areas — healthcare, education, economic empowerment and public safety. Its mission is to identify, develop and promote scalable and sustainable public policies and corporate engagement strategies that will address systemic racism, social injustice and improve societal well-being.

 

[i] “Amid Pandemic, Confidence in Key S. Institutions Surges,” Gallup News, August 12, 2020; Aimee, Ortiz, “Confidence in Police is at Record Low, Gallup Survey Finds,” New York Times, August 12, 2020

[ii] Ben Grunwald and John Rappaport, “The Wandering Officer,” the Yale Law Journal, 120, No. 6(April 2020), 1686, 1734-35

[iii] Tom Jackman, “FBI launched database on police use of force last year, but only 40 percent of police participated,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2020; Ben Grunwald and John Rappaport, The Wandering Officer,” the Yale Law Journal, Vol. 120, No. 6(April 2020), 1686, 1734-35