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NATIONAL STATEMENT SUPPORTING POLICE REFORM

RELEASED June 29, 2020

This position statement is available here

WHEREAS, the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NABLEO) , a 501.c.3 non-profit, is a premier national organization for men and women of color serving in the ranks of criminal justice system professionals, and has been in the forefront of bridging the gap between the community and the police, and;

WHEREAS, the public is deserving of strong support of their concerns and issues relative to the manner and level at which law enforcement interacts with them, particularly in communities of color, and;

WHEREAS, while we recognize that the services of the vast majority of law enforcement officers across the nation are and have been honorable and professional, we must also accept the fact that the institution of policing has been inherently biased against people of color, the poor and low-income, that the practice of intentional racially-biased police interactions in communities of color is completely contrary to all ethical and professional methods of law enforcement and community-based policing, and that the abuse of police power and authority is illegal and impractical for the purposes of strengthening bonds and relationships with all communities, and brings shame to all those who are employed as criminal justice practitioners, and;

WHEREAS, the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers in communities of color, and the lack of accountability and transparency in the investigation of these issues, has taken a significant toll on those communities, resulting in mass episodes of civil unrest and disobedience, as well as a lack of trust and faith in the criminal justice system, and;

WHEREAS, the activities and policies of law enforcement administrators and police practitioners have the most immediate and direct impact on the quality of life in our community of all established governmental services, and;

WHEREAS, there is a need to bring about positive, reformative changes in the culture and nature of policing so as to develop positive and highly productive partnerships between communities and law enforcement agencies for safer communities and dealing with the root causes of crime;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors and General Membership of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. (NABLEO) calls for the following measures supportive of modernizing law enforcement practices and bringing about true police reform:

- CONDEMNATION OF RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE. We openly and formally condemn the practice of racial profiling and police brutality in all of its forms, and demand that professional police administrators avidly investigate all complaints of these actions brought to their attention, and immediately terminate all persons whose conduct is found to be egregious or of a problematic pattern, as their continued presence in the community is detrimental to both our professional and personal well-being as members of the law enforcement profession, and brings shame upon both our profession and our community.

- SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE AND DE-ESCALATION PROVISIONS IN ALL USE OF FORCE POLICIES. That all agencies shall specifically define their highest priority to be the sanctity of human life, with the foremost regard for the preservation of human life and the safety of all persons involved. All law enforcement officers will be required to use de-escalation techniques that prevent or reduce the need for force when it is safe and feasible, based on the totality of the circumstances. This shall include continually assessing the situation and modifying the use of force as circumstances change and in ways that are consistent with officer safety, including stopping the use of force when it is no longer necessary.

- INCREASED MANDATORY USE OF BODY-WORN CAMERAS. When their use has been mandated, body worn cameras by law enforcement officers have been shown to dramatically reduce the occurrence of police abuse and misconduct, promotes a higher degree of transparency in the processes and practices of the criminal justice system, allowing citizens, and particularly those in communities of color, wider opportunities to seek a greater sense of justice.

- COMPREHENSIVE, STANDARDIZED LEGISLATION REGULATING INVESTIGATION OF POLICE USE OF FORCE. We support the adoption and passage of legislation that promotes and supports police accountability which will curtail police abuse and misconduct, which will subsequently result in greater levels of community faith in the criminal justice system, thus enhancing police legitimacy and trust.

- ADOPTION OF COMMUNITY POLICING PHILOSOPHIES. We fully support the philosophy of community policing as a positive and highly productive means of developing partnerships between communities and law enforcement agencies to develop safer communities and dealing with the root causes of crime.

- INCREASED HIRING, PROMOTION AND RETENTION OF OFFICERS OF COLOR. African American law enforcement personnel have served throughout the country for more than two centuries and have played a pivotal role in creating positive and meaningful bonds and relationships between police and the communities they serve. This should include the hiring of more community-based candidates as their presence has a significant impact on enhanced concepts of police legitimacy, improved interaction, and a defined investment with the communities of color that they serve.

- UNIVERSAL ELIMINATION OF THE USE OF CHOKEHOLDS. We support the adoption and passage of legislation, both at the federal and state-wide levels, that bans the use of carotid and vascular neck restraints, control holds and maneuvers, commonly known as chokeholds.

- UNIVERSALLY LEGISLATED DUTY TO INTERVENE. All law enforcement officers must recognize and act upon the duty to intervene to prevent or stop any person, to include other law enforcement personnel, from conducting any act that is unethical, or that violates law or policy, or when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required to gain compliance. All agencies shall actively enforce prohibitions on retaliation against officers and staff for making good faith complaints, reports, inquiries, or for participating in a review or investigation of officer misconduct, to include those whose allegations are made in good faith but prove to be mistaken.

- STATE-LEVEL POLICE CREDENTIALLING AND LICENSING. We strongly support the establishment of minimum standards of licensing, certification and license forfeiture for all law enforcement, correctional, and investigative personnel who are granted powers of arrest, search and seizure and authority to carry weapons.

- CREATION OF NATIONAL DATABASE. We strongly support the creation and maintenance of a national, publicly accessible database of all officers who have been decertified, fired, found to be untruthful, repeatedly failed to follow training requirements, inappropriate use of force, failure to intervene to stop excessive force or found civilly liable for excessive force or failure to intervene, and that those officers listed in such database be prohibited from obtaining positions in any law enforcement capacity.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, we urge all state and local governments to adopt these measures which will curtail police abuse and misconduct, and which will subsequently result in greater levels of community faith in the criminal justice system, and support community strength, thus enhancing police legitimacy and trust.

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