|Recommendations - The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement And Corrections|
|By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.|
In the last days of the Trump administration, Attorney General William Barr released the final report on the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.
I’ve been in the justice system long enough to understand that the incoming administration will, in all probability, ignore the report. That would be a mistake; there are recommendations worthy of consideration.
It’s close to 300 pages long meaning most will never read the document in its entirety which is why I offer the recommendations here.
For a history of previous Presidential-national crime commissions, see Encyclopedia.Com.
For comments critical of the Commission, see CivilRights.Org.
It’s not just a report on law enforcement; it’s a comprehensive look at improving the entire justice system. Some of the recommendations that interested me include sections on:
Public communication and social media,
Use of force,
A comprehensive review of offender mental health issues,
Enhanced 911 response for individuals experiencing mental illness,
Enhanced victim services,
Offender reentry with an emphasis on telehealth services and teletherapy programs,
Jurisdictions that eliminate its system of cash bail should first establish a comprehensive pretrial release program that addresses public safety concerns,
Establish a National Public Safety Officers Council that is composed of representatives from the business community and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement,
The Federal Bureau of Investigation should include nonfatal shootings as a separate category,
Law enforcement should consider the use of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones) as a tool for fighting crime,
Mental health safeguards for law enforcement officers,
Comprehensive educational benefit for individuals who commit to a law enforcement career,
Increase staff engagement in the agency, allowing for both top-down and bottom-up input into policies, procedures, and operations and training improvements,
The commission leaned towards increased standardization of policies and procedures to increase efficiency and public accountability.
The full report is available at President’s Commission.
Background (direct quotes from the report)
On October 28, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13,896 creating this historic Commission to study, review, and recommend improvements to the law enforcement profession and the criminal justice system.
Nearly 55 years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson created the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. After two years of work, the Johnson Commission provided a blueprint for the criminal justice system that endured for more than a half century.
This Commission was tasked with building upon the Johnson Commission report to provide a practical blueprint within a year that guides the improvement of the public safety of the United States and reinforces the fundamental purpose of government: to provide unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The 17 commissioners appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr were charged with the significant responsibility to carry out the Executive Order and implementation guidance, and to submit a report to the attorney general.
These commissioners were joined by more than 150 working group members; hundreds of subject matter experts; and a dedicated, energetic group of federal program managers, all working tirelessly to achieve the goals of this Commission.
Nearly 200 expert witnesses provided oral testimony through more than 50 hearing panels, and more than 190 diverse groups of interest provided public statements, including information relating to civil and human rights and comments from survivors of murdered law enforcement officers.
Collectively, the work of this Commission resulted in a set of practical recommendations for federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to improve the law enforcement profession and related criminal justice system components. The key virtues of all commissioners included being extraordinary listeners, remaining practical, exercising sound judgement, and serving a duty to our great country.
APPENDIX A: LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS (minor edits for readability)
Chapter 1: Respect for the Rule of Law and Law Enforcement
1.1.1 Prosecutorial authorities who adopt non-enforcement policies should publish such policies in the interests of transparency.
1.1.2 State officials should provide oversight of prosecutors who have blanket policies not to prosecute certain categories of crimes.
1.1.3 The doctrine of qualified immunity for law enforcement officers should not be weakened.
1.2.1 Law enforcement agencies should continue to prioritize community outreach and developing and maintaining strong, positive relationships with various segments of the community, while providing knowledge of and appreciation for the daily responsibilities of law enforcement.
Promoting Transparency and Accountability When Officers Use Force
1.3.1 Law enforcement agencies should have well-documented and publicly available protocols for conducting administrative investigations of alleged officer misconduct and any uses of force.
1.3.2 Law enforcement agencies should publicly disseminate and educate the community on all use-of-force policies and procedures, including protocols for criminal and administrative investigations.
1.3.3 States should enact legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to have an independent, external agency that has met minimum training and accreditation standards conduct the criminal investigation of use-of-force incidents that result in death or serious bodily injury.
1.4.1 Law enforcement agencies should prioritize community outreach and developing and maintaining strong, positive relationships with various segments of the community, while providing knowledge of and appreciation for the daily responsibilities of law enforcement.
1.4.2 New prosecutors should be trained on the work of law enforcement officers.
1.4.3 Law enforcement agencies should develop and maintain a strong social media presence and a comprehensive public outreach plan to consistently deliver accurate and timely messaging to the public.
1.4.4 Law enforcement agencies should ensure that their social media technology and strategies are current and constantly updated to remain responsive to their community.
Chapter 2: Victim Services -Trauma-Informed Approach to and Protection for Crime Victims
2.1.1 Local and state law enforcement agencies should enhance their in-house victim assistance programs to improve services to crime victims and increase public safety.
2.1.2 The Peace Officers Standards and Training agency in each state should require that state’s basic academy curriculum and continuing education courses include training on trauma-informed care, victim services, state’s victims’ rights laws, and the role of crime victim compensation.
2.1.3 All states should ensure that their Victims Bill of Rights provides the same protection to victims of juvenile crime and adult crime. Victims of crime, regardless of the age of the offender, should have the same rights available to them.
Victims of Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence
2.2.1 State and local governments should adopt family justice center collaborative models.
2.3.1 Local governments should implement ongoing elder abuse training opportunities for first responders, prosecutors, judges, and advocates.
2.3.2 Congress should increase funding to support children’s advocacy centers and system-based victim advocates trained to work with young victims.
2.3.3 Law enforcement agencies should engage with their Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to further protect youth from exploitation.
2.3.4 Congress should increase funding to support local coordinated community response teams.
Chapter 3: Alleviating the Impact of Social Problems on Public Safety-Rebuilding Behavioral Health Treatment Services in the Community
3.1.1 State and local governments should implement or enhance co-located, comprehensive, one-stop-shop systems of care to screen, assess, and treat people with mental illness and substance use disorders that meet the demand of the community, including criminal defendants.
3.1.2 State and local governments should develop multi-service centers to provide triage and connections to longer-term care for people with mental health disorders, with substance use disorders, and who are homeless.
3.1.3 Congress should eliminate Medicaid’s institutions for mental disease exclusion and Medicaid’s inmate exclusion policy. Appendix A: List of Recommendations
3.1.4 Local government leaders should develop and implement a formal data-informed collaboration of criminal justice, public health, and social service agencies to reduce the communities’ unmet behavioral health treatment and homeless service needs.
3.1.5 Congress should fund the Department of Health and Human Services to increase the awareness capacity, quality, uniformity, and coverage of 211 and 988 services nationwide to reduce the burden of call response in situations involving the police.
Law Enforcement’s Role and Responsibilities to Address Social Problems
3.2.1 States should develop policies and baseline training for local call takers for all N11 codes (e.g., 911, 211, 411, or 311). These policies should include procedures to effectively triage calls for individuals experiencing mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness during a crisis or a non-crisis situation.
3.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should have policies and procedures specifying officer response protocols for calls for service that involve individuals with a mental health disorder or substance use disorder or those who are homeless, including the integration of behavioral health professionals and other community services providers.
3.2.3 Law enforcement agencies should develop a training program for contact with individuals with a mental health disorder or substance use disorder or those who are homeless.
Improving State Court Responses to Social Problems
3.3.1 States should expand their use of treatment courts, provide oversight to ensure adherence to the model, and provide funding for treatment and service specialists.
3.3.2 States should adopt programs to reduce the bottleneck of the process for competency restoration to stand trial.
3.3.3 The Department of Justice should examine how local laws and policies that decriminalize or reduce sanctions for drug use or activities related to homelessness impact law enforcement and public safety.
Prioritizing Treatment in Corrections
3.4.1 Jails should screen every individual booked into the facility for substance use disorder and mental health disorder. Jails should follow up with a full assessment for anyone who screens positive.
3.4.2 Correctional facilities should provide evidence-based treatment for inmates with behavioral health disorders while they also address the inmates’ criminal behaviors and trends.
Chapter 4: Juvenile Justice and Youth Crime-The Role of Law Enforcement and Detention/Corrections Staff
4.1.1 Criminal justice professionals who interact with juvenile offenders should receive specialized training.
The Need for Accountability
4.2.1 Congress should reinstitute funding for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants Program.
4.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should implement the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Comprehensive Gang Model.
4.2.3 States should delay the automatic expungement of juvenile arrest and court records until adulthood. Instead, states should implement limited access relief, which allows criminal justice system stakeholders access to offender history while maintaining confidentiality.
Risk and Needs Assessment
4.3.1 States should study, test, and implement a standardized assessment tool at both the state and local levels to determine risk and needs for juveniles entering a juvenile justice system.
4.4 Enhancing Engagement in Support of Prevention and Early Intervention
4.4.1 Law enforcement and their local school system should create and implement a memorandum of understanding so that school resource officers and school personnel train, learn, and respond collectively on issues confronting their individual school populations.
4.4.2 Counties that are responsible for the prosecution of juvenile delinquency should form a youth service commission as part of their juvenile justice continuum.
4.4.3 Law enforcement agencies, community partners, and the private sector should partner to create agency-wide mentoring initiatives that engage youth and promote law enforcement–youth interactions.
4.4.4 Law enforcement and juvenile justice-serving agencies should include child internet safety education as a primary prevention tool.
4.5 Training and Professionalizing the Juvenile Justice System
4.5.1 States should provide tailored training to prosecutors, law enforcement executives, and court personnel on the importance of juvenile justice, the impact juvenile justice has on community safety, and the unique role each has to play in addressing juvenile offending and effective adjudication.
Chapter 5: Reentry Programs and Initiatives
5.1 Risk and Needs Assessment Tools 5.1.1 Jails and prisons should implement and standardize risk and needs assessment tools modeling the First Step Act to inform programming and positive reentry outcomes. These tools should be administered upon entry to correctional facilities and on a regular, recurring basis during and after incarceration, if released onto community supervision.
Reentry Programming for Jails and Prisons
5.2.1 Jails and prisons should allocate resources to recidivism reduction programs.
5.2.2 Jails and prisons should develop incentives to increase participation in recidivism reduction programs, and they should also develop technology solutions to facilitate these programs. These could include tele-health and tele-therapy programs, as well as technologies that could support educational and job-related skill-building.
5.2.3 Jails and prisons should develop unique reentry and reintegration program offerings for specific populations, including veterans, parents, and women.
Transition Planning and Release
5.3.1 State legislatures, in collaboration with criminal justice leaders, should review, identify, and eliminate legislation and regulations that pose barriers to successful reentry.
5.3.2 States or counties should establish reentry councils—in collaboration with service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private businesses—to enhance the development, coordination, and success of jail and prison reentry initiatives.
5.3.3 The Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture should develop housing strategies for people who were formerly incarcerated that increase positive reentry outcomes of jail and prison reentry initiatives.
Community Reintegration and Supervision
5.4.1 Community supervision agencies should adopt the case management model and initiate plans that are consistent with the plans developed by jails and prisons, tailored appropriately, and include engagement strategies to reduce recidivism.
Chapter 6: Criminal Justice System Partners
6.1.1 Local prosecutor’s offices, where practical, should arrange for 24/7 access to prosecutors who can provide law enforcement officers real-time assistance to address issues relating to search and seizure and serving warrants. In rural areas, regional partnerships could be a practical solution to overcome personnel shortages and geographic limitations.
6.1.2 States should consider permitting discretionary summonses by law enforcement officers.
Prosecution and Defense
6.2.1 States should establish procedures that foster transparency, victim input, and judicial oversight over guilty plea resolutions to ensure plea agreements serve justice.
6.2.2 United States Attorneys’ offices should develop regular systems of collaboration with state prosecutors for serious crimes that are eligible for prosecution in either the state or federal jurisdiction.
6.2.3 States should develop specific and special protocols for investigating and prosecuting law enforcement use-of-force incidents that result in death or serious bodily injury.
6.3.1 The Department of Justice should examine the feasibility of establishing voluntary certification programs for treatment court judges. If found feasible, the Department should support the development of judicial certification standards.
6.3.2 The Department of Justice should evaluate the effectiveness of all types of treatment courts, including mental health, veterans, and homelessness courts.
6.3.3 The Department of Justice should support the development of treatment court models or protocols for populations with co-occurring problems.
6.3.4 The Department of Justice should provide funding to examine the cost, efficiency, and effectiveness of various forms of indigent defense. This research should consider factors that vary at the local level, such as population density or volume of criminal caseload.
6.3.5 The Department of Justice should provide funding to states and localities to determine if jurisdictions that have adopted a holistic defense approach have realized improved outcomes and efficiencies.
6.3.6 Criminal justice agencies should develop the capacity to engage in videoconferencing for selected court proceedings, including arraignments. Criminal justice agencies should purchase video technology and update the infrastructure necessary to support virtual courtrooms.
6.3.7 State and local jurisdictions should amend laws or administrative rules to allow videoconferencing.
Detention and Corrections
6.4.1 Any jurisdiction planning to eliminate its system of cash bail should first establish a comprehensive pretrial release program that addresses public safety concerns— particularly for victims and witnesses—and potential flight risk. Such programs should use a validated risk assessment tool that sets realistic conditions of release reflecting the seriousness of the charged offense(s) and should ensure that meaningful and effective sanctions for violations of pretrial release are defined and enforced.
6.4.2 The Department of Justice should define the minimum constitutional standards for cash bail systems based on U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit court precedent. This definition should specify the due process and equal protection requirements.
6.4.3 The Department of Justice should commit funding to research the nature and length of detention of defendants who are held in jails to accurately assess the seriousness of their charges, assess how much danger they pose to the community, and determine how often new offenses are committed by defendants who are out on bail.
6.4.4 Congress should enact federal legislation that would permit state prison systems to use cell phone jamming equipment in correctional facilities.
Criminal Justice Coordinating Councils
6.5.1 Local and state governments should develop or contribute to statewide or regional criminal justice coordinating councils.
Chapter 7: Business and Community Development
Law Enforcement and Industry Collaboration to Reduce Crime
7.1.1 Law enforcement agencies should partner with public and private entities to gain access to public-facing, privately owned cameras to serve as a deterrent to crime and to assist criminal investigations.
7.1.2 The Department of Justice should establish a National Public Safety Officers Council that is composed of representatives from the business community and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. This council should meet twice per year to address current and emerging public safety threats and needs and hold an annual summit with the White House.
7.1.3 State and local governments should build collaborative relationships with higher education institutions to identify and offer college classes and degrees that better prepare future and current law enforcement officers.
7.1.4 Local governments should create collaborations with area employers to provide summer employment and paid internship opportunities for youth, with a focus on disadvantaged youth.
7.1.5 Local governments should collaborate with area employers to provide employment opportunities for individuals who are transitioning out of incarceration or secured detention.
Chapter 8: Reduction of Crime
Gangs and Criminal Organizations
8.1.1 Law enforcement agencies should fund crime analysts to identify violent crime trends among individuals and groups.
8.1.2 Local law enforcement should coordinate joint strategies with other state and federal law enforcement agencies to combat gang violence, to include forming and participating in regionalized gang task forces.
8.1.3 Local law enforcement, in collaboration with federal law enforcement, should implement targeted enforcement and patrols in designated and confined geographical areas to gather, collect, and share intelligence on known gang members for arrest and prosecution.
8.1.4 Federal, state, local, and tribal governments should increase funding for community-oriented crime reduction programs focused on both adult and youth populations.
Illegal Possession, Use, and Trafficking of Firearms
8.2.1 Federal and local law enforcement agencies should partner to increase investigations and prosecutions of individuals who illegally possess, use, and traffic firearms.
8.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should collect and quickly process ballistics evidence in all shootings and gun recoveries, regardless of whether there is an immediately identifiable offender or victim.
8.2.3 Congress should provide additional funding to the Department of Justice to increase the number of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) sites, and the Department of Justice should provide additional grant funding to the Local Law Enforcement Crime Gun Intelligence Centers Integration Initiative.
8.2.4 Congress should continue to fund the NIBIN National Correlation and Training Center.
8.2.5 Congress should enact a federal firearms trafficking statute that strengthens penalties for fraudulent and illegal firearm transfers.
8.2.6 The Department of Justice should increase the sworn complement of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agents.
8.2.7 Congress should provide additional funding and guidance to help state agencies improve the accuracy of reporting of mental health records and protection orders to the National Instant Check System (NICS).
8.2.8 The Federal Bureau of Investigation should include nonfatal shootings as a separate category in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
8.3.1 Local law enforcement should actively participate in a regional high-intensity drug trafficking area or task force led by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
8.3.2 Sheriffs should partner with local and state law enforcement to implement flexible cooperative criminal highway interdiction efforts in contiguous counties that cover major national or state highways designated as drug transportation corridors.
8.3.3 Congress should permanently schedule the entire class of fentanyl and related analogues.
8.3.4 The federal government should develop a national automatic license plate reader clearinghouse for all data from automatic license plate readers.
8.3.5 The U.S. Postal Service and private parcel delivery services should increase their ability to investigate the transportation of illegal drugs.
Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation
8.4.1 The Department of Justice should provide training and technical assistance for state, local, and tribal law enforcement related to the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in order to assist the investigation and prosecution of traffickers and provide services to victims. This training should incorporate information on how traffickers are using technology.
8.4.2 The federal government should develop a national database on juvenile human trafficking victims.
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
8.5.1 Local law enforcement agencies should partner with victim service providers to develop or enhance safety protocols related to obtaining or enforcing orders of protection.
8.5.2 U.S. attorney’s offices should use 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) and (9) to increase the prosecution of domestic violence-related firearms cases.
8.5.3 States should establish laws and procedures for safe and accountable firearms transfer pursuant to domestic violence-related convictions or issuance of protective orders.
8.5.4 The Department of Justice should increase grant funding to provide assistance to forensic labs for personnel, training, and case management software to aid in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases.
Chapter 9: Homeland Security-Identifying the Nature of the Threat: International and Domestic Terrorism
9.1.1 Congress should enact legislation that guarantees law enforcement agencies equal and lawful access to publicly posted data.
9.1.2 State and local authorities should replicate the federal uniform prison release guidelines so state parole officers can better monitor inmates who have a connection to terrorism. These guidelines should include notifying the local Joint Terrorism Task Force and governors so they can alert their respective criminal justice authorities.
9.1.3 State, local, and tribal law enforcement should voluntarily track and share their domestic terrorism incidents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Information-Sharing and Partnerships
9.2.1 Congress should authorize and appropriate annual funding for the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to enable federal law enforcement agencies to establish full-time positions at the National Network of Fusion Centers.
9.2.2 Congress should authorize and appropriate funding for a dedicated Department of Homeland Security fusion center grant program that provides funds directly to states and local jurisdictions comprising the National Network of Fusion Centers.
9.2.3 The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should provide intelligence training to state and local authorities that focuses on integrating criminal intelligence with national intelligence to better protect the nation.
9.2.4 The Intelligence Community should develop a unified strategy to increase awareness of foreign malign influence threats that have an impact on state and local jurisdictions and the private sector.
9.2.5 The Department of Homeland Security should survey state, local, and tribal law enforcement; fire departments; and other emergency medical services information systems that may be used to improve reporting and analysis of threats of mass casualty attacks and threats to school safety.
9.3.1 Congress should provide additional funding to federal agencies to construct and maintain a comprehensive border security system. This funding should support immigration enforcement detention capacity and space, technological infrastructure, and combined durable physical and technology systems that help secure national borders.
9.3.2 Congress should enact legislation that raises the penalty for illegally entering the United States from a misdemeanor to a felony. This legislation should also clearly state that being in the United States without legal authorization is a continuing offense, and that the statute of limitations does not begin from the time the alien illegally entered the United States.
9.3.3 Congress should enact legislation to codify the authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to briefly maintain custody of prisoners and inmates for whom there is reason to believe they are aliens who could be removable from the United States. These inmates should be delivered to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s custody to face immigration removal procedures after serving their state sentence.
9.3.4 Congress should enact legislation that provides an authorization and an increased appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security’s Operation Stonegarden grant program, which provides funding for border operations and other resources geared for law enforcement agencies along the national border.
9.3.5 Congress should authorize and appropriate funds to the Department of Justice to establish a grant program tailored to the Southwest Border. This program should address the public safety, national security, and humanitarian issues that are prevalent in border communities. This funding should go directly to local law enforcement agencies and not through the state authorities for dissemination.
9.3.6 The legislative and executive branches should institutionalize a formal mechanism to ensure that border sheriffs and other key local stakeholders help formulate policy decisions that have an impact on the Southwest Border and Northern Border.
9.3.7 The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency should inform state, local, and tribal government technological procurement offices regarding companies and components known to carry cybersecurity risks.
Chapter 10: Grant Programs-The Federal Grant-Making Process and Application and Grant Management Systems
10.1.1 The Department of Justice grant-making components should develop a common, standardized data-and information-sharing capability to support the grants management lifecycle for both internal and external users.
10.1.2 The Department of Justice grant-making components should develop a common, standardized set of what data fields are to be collected, subjected to analytics, and reported.
10.1.3 The Department of Justice grant-making components should adhere to plain language requirements that clearly convey how grantees should meet the program goals and objectives and to reflect the overall performance of the grantee.
Use of Federal Funds
10.2.1 The Department of Justice should reduce the bureaucracy involved in grant program application and administration, to allow state, local, and tribal governments to efficiently and effectively address their criminal justice needs. The Department should eliminate or reduce unnecessary state administrative pass through processes from its grant program administration.
10.2.2 Congress should periodically assess and, if necessary, adjust the statutory formula of grant programs when they are reauthorized to ensure that they still meet their intended need and that they are equitably distributed across the nation.
10.2.3 The Department of Justice should establish a comprehensive training program to inform state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies about grant application requirements, grant application preparation, reporting responsibilities, monitoring, and other competencies.
10.2.4 Department of Justice grant-making components should provide assistance to grant recipients on how to sustain federally funded programs and items after the grant period is finished.
Chapter 11: Technology-Lawful Access
11.1.1 Congress should require providers of communications services and electronic data storage manufacturers to implement strong, managed encryption for stored data and data in motion while ensuring lawful access to evidence pursuant to court orders.
11.1.2 Congress should implement regulations and laws that require internet service providers and companies that provide commercial services to retain certain records and set record retention periods.
11.1.3 The FBI should establish a Lawful Access Technology Resource Center. The FBI should restructure the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center’s Executive Advisory Board to allow law enforcement executives from federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to address specific and sensitive law enforcement matters, including the impact and development of emerging technologies on law enforcement operations.
Implementing New Technologies
11.2.1 Law enforcement should consider the use of unmanned aircraft systems as a tool for fighting crime.
11.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should consider implementing acoustic gunshot detection technologies to combat firearm crime and violence.
11.2.3 The Department of Justice should provide funding to expand real time crime centers (RTCCs) throughout the nation and develop technology tools that provide RTCCs with the ability to identify and disseminate crime intelligence, analyze crime patterns, and develop strategies for reducing crime.
11.2.4 Law enforcement agencies should thoroughly consider the full range of potential legal, constitutional, and civil liberties and privacy implications associated with generating, acquiring, or using a new technology or data set.
Facial Recognition Technology
11.3.1 Federal and state governments should further investigate the use of facial recognition technology to help prevent and investigate criminal activities.
Data and Reporting
12.1 Federal Data 12.1.1 The president should direct the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a one-time review of criminal justice data collections across the government to identify duplication of data collection.
Data Collection and Reporting Methods
12.2.1 States should enact legislation that requires criminal justice agencies to collect standardized criminal justice data for reporting to the state and federal governments.
12.3.1 Evidence-based policing should be incorporated into training curricula, as well as everyday practices, policies, and procedures, by law enforcement academies, state Peace Officer Training and Standards, and law enforcement agencies.
12.3.2 Congress should provide funding to create a College of Policing to provide and set standards for evidence-based policing education and training for law enforcement officers.
Chapter 13: Rural and Tribal Law Enforcement
13.1.1 States should develop a “pay the backfill” reimbursement program so personnel in nearby agencies can cover for officers in rural and tribal jurisdictions to attend job-critical trainings.
13.1.2 The Department of Justice should develop partnerships (through memoranda of understanding) between Federal Bureau of Investigation labs and state forensic labs— particularly in rural areas—to reduce wait times for results on evidence tested.
13.1.3 Rural and tribal school districts should consider enabling capable, trained, and specially selected school personnel to prevent, recognize, and respond to crime and violence
Recommendations on campus. School administrators working with law enforcement should develop, review, and routinely practice emergency plans that outline procedures for faculty and staff during a critical incident on campus.
13.1.4 The Department of Justice should prioritize funding for rural and tribal law enforcement agencies to develop computer-aided dispatch, records management systems, and in-car computer systems that leverage their compatibility with national, state, regional, tribal, and local information sharing systems. Additionally, funding should be disbursed for FirstNet Authority to provide secure and reliable data access to in-car systems.
13.1.5 Congress should review and ensure existing public safety grant programs through the Department of Justice are equitably allocated to rural and tribal law enforcement agencies. The federal agencies should also examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of expanding the performance periods and lowering the match requirements for grants awarded to rural and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Tribal Law Enforcement
13.2.1 Congress should allocate sufficient, predictable, and dedicated funding for the Department of Justice’s Tribal Access Program.
13.2.2 Federal agencies should award competitive Indian Country criminal justice grants as permanent, recurring base funding for tribal law enforcement and justice services.
13.2.3 The Department of Justice should designate specific Drug Enforcement Administration agents to work in Indian Country. These designated agents should work together with officers from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local and tribal law enforcement to reduce the supply of drugs that are fueling violent crime on tribal land.
13.2.4 Congress should amend relevant statutes to make the transportation, coercion, or enticement of an American Indian or Alaska Native into human trafficking a federal crime.
13.2.5 The Department of Justice should provide grant-based incentives for local, state, and tribal agencies to enter into cross-deputization agreements to assist participating agencies in providing seamless law enforcement services in Indian Country.
Law Enforcement Needs of Alaska
13.3.1 Congress should allocate permanent base funding to meet the public safety needs of Alaska. This funding should address the inadequate law enforcement staffing.
13.3.2 Congress should provide funding to develop and maintain infrastructure for rural law enforcement services in Alaska through a federal agency.
Chapter 14: Law Enforcement Health and Wellness
14.1.1 Law enforcement agencies should establish a department-wide health and fitness program with both financial and nonfinancial incentives.
14.2.1 Law enforcement agencies should require mental health training, both in academy training and recurring in-service training, for their personnel.
14.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should ensure that mental health resources and services are accessible and confidential.
14.2.3 Law enforcement agencies should establish policies that mandate an annual mental health check for all sworn law enforcement officers and relevant civilian staff. Similarly, mandatory mental health checks should be required after a critical incident or traumatic incident.
14.2.4 States should provide funding for peer support training and set certification standards for peer support members and training.
14.2.5 Congress should enact legislation that protects the authority or commission that an officer has when they request assistance for mental health issues.
14.2.6 Congress should strengthen Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provisions regarding medical records and treatment notes of first responders.
14.2.7 The Department of Homeland Security should develop a wellness unit within the Incident Command System.
14.2.8 Congress should establish and fund a national law enforcement crisis hotline.
14.2.9 Congress should amend the definition of “injury” in the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act to include post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues incurred by employees in the performance of law enforcement public safety duties.
Law Enforcement Safety
14.3.1 The Department of Justice should further implement a national, comprehensive database for law enforcement officer injuries and treatment. The data should be analyzed and released in a timely manner.
14.3.2 The Department of Justice should expand the National Blue Alert Network to all 50 states.
14.3.3 Congress should pass legislation that would create a new federal offense for those who deliberately target law enforcement officers with the intent to kill.
14.3.4 A National Law Enforcement Safety Board should be established that investigates line-of-duty deaths. This board should effectively promote a higher level of safety in law enforcement.
Chapter 15: Law Enforcement Recruitment and Training
15.1.1 The federal government should establish a comprehensive educational benefit for individuals who commit to a law enforcement career.
15.1.2 Law enforcement agencies should consider their internally identified priorities along with the priorities of the community and collaboratively work with stakeholders to conduct a thorough assessment of what critical characteristics and traits qualify an individual as a candidate for employment with their agency. This should include examining their policies concerning tattoos, grooming standards, and past drug use.
15.1.3 Law enforcement agencies should develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for recruitment.
15.1.4 Law enforcement agencies should assure the validity of, and periodically audit, all testing instruments.
15.1.5 Law enforcement agencies should consider offering recruitment and retention incentives.
15.1.6 Law enforcement agencies should reduce the time it takes to apply for and receive an offer from an agency.
15.2.1 Law enforcement agencies should increase staff engagement in the agency, allowing for both top-down and bottom-up input into policies, procedures, and operations.
15.2.2 Law enforcement agencies should develop formal procedures for exit interviews to identify reasons for leaving.
15.2.3 Law enforcement agencies should examine their salary and benefit packages and incentive programs to ensure that they are competitive in the field.
15.3.1 The Department of Justice should collaboratively work with stakeholders to develop national minimum standards for annual online and in-person continuing education requirements. These should include the most significant areas and critical topics required, as well as the minimum training hours required for each.
15.3.2 The Department of Justice should consider establishing a national law enforcement training center.
15.3.3 The Department of Justice should develop and regularly update a comprehensive, standardized, and immersive training program for law enforcement officers on stops, questioning, searches, and seizures.
Use-of-Force Training and Policies
15.4.1 Law enforcement agencies should include use-of-force models in their policies.
15.4.2 Law enforcement agencies should establish a use-of-force review panel that meets annually to conduct a thorough review of their use-of-force policies.
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Leonard A. Sipes, Jr has thirty-five years of experience supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. He is the Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse and the Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. He has a Post Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book "Success With the Media". He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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