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Peters Announces Support for Policing Reforms

Peters Also Working on Community Policing Bill and Advancing Bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission Legislation; Vows Focus on Making Investments to Address Economic, Health and Education Inequities

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced his support for several Senate bills that would reform policing and improve officer training and increase accountability. He is also working to advance his bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission Act that would assess the entire system and propose reforms to address the most pressing issues facing the nation’s criminal justice system. He also is working on community policing legislation to that will help bridge the lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect.

“We must address inequities and racial disparities and part of our effort must include making commonsense reforms to policing,” said Senator Peters. “There are a number of bills I am supporting that the Senate should pass, including to ban the use of chokeholds and improving officer training and accountability by establishing independent reviews into police-involved use of deadly force. I will be working to advance needed reforms and believe in this moment it is critical to protect the safety of our citizens. We must also focus on making investments to address longstanding inequities in our society, including economic, health and education disparities.”

Legislation Peters is cosponsoring would:

  • Ban the Use of Chokeholds: The Eric Garner Excessive Force Prevention Act would make the deployment of a chokehold unlawful under federal civil rights law.
  • Improve Police Officer Training & Independent Accountability: The Police Training and Independent Review Act would incentivize states to enact laws requiring the independent investigation and prosecution of the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, and to require fair and impartial police training for local law enforcement officers.
  • Create a Science Advisory Board within the Department of Justice: The Improving Justice Programs through Science Act would create a Science Advisory Board at the Office of Justice Programs within the Department of Justice. The Board would be responsible for integrating scientific knowledge into crime-reduction efforts, as well as for using research, data, and evidence to guide the Office of Justice Programs’ grants, programs, and activities.
  • Require Federal Law Enforcement Officers to Clearly Identify Themselves: The Law Enforcement Identification Act would require all federal law enforcement officers, contractors, and members of the Armed Services to clearly identify themselves and their service branch or agencies, badge number, or rank while they are engaged in crowd control at protests or other similar activities.

Peters is also renewing a push to pass his bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission Act. It passed the Senate in late December 2018 but time ran out before it could pass the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, which has broad bipartisan support, would create a 14-member, bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission charged with completing an 18-month, comprehensive review of the national criminal justice system, including federal, state, local and tribal criminal justice systems, and issuing recommendations for changes in oversight, policies, practices and laws to reduce crime, increase public safety and promote confidence in the criminal justice system. The last comprehensive review of the criminal justice system was conducted in 1965. The 1965 report from that review offered over 200 recommendations that have shaped the current criminal justice system, including the creation of the 9-1-1 system establishment of research organizations like the Bureau of Justice Statistics and improved training and professionalization for law enforcement.

Peters’ National Criminal Justice Commission Act is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice organizations, including law enforcement and criminal justice reform advocates. It is supported by the NAACP, National Association of Police Organizations, National Action Network, Police Officers Association of Michigan, National Urban League and Major Cities Chiefs Association.