The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) has issued a public letter signed by more than 80 law enforcement representatives containing recommended actions for Congress, local and state authorities, and the Trump administration to enact police reforms and rebuild community trust amid the recent unrest.
LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, is an organization of current and former law enforcement professionals that is pushing for sensible drug policy, including cannabis legalization, and criminal justice reforms.
“Today, words are not enough,” the letter reads. “We support national action because we owe equal rights to every person, regardless of their background. We must act on our values of transparency, accountability, and safety.”
“Accountability measures that show an agency is serious about respecting the rights of all of its residents help the police as much as they help the communities we serve. There’s no better way to restore community trust. And we cannot do our jobs without trust.” — Police Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), Executive Director of LEAP, in a statement
The LEAP recommendations to Congress include steps to increase the transparency and accountability of law enforcement, including “an independent national public database recording all officers who were terminated or resigned due to misconduct.” The letter also calls for a new national standard that raises the threshold for the use of deadly force and “upholds the sanctity of human life.”
LEAP recommends that state and local authorities work toward the same goals and additionally emphasize finding alternatives to some punitive police actions: “Wherever possible, remove policing of social issues from the scope of police responsibilities,” LEAP recommends. “Promote funding of social service agencies and implement evidence-0based interventions to address substance use, mental health crisis, and homelessness.”
The letter also calls for prohibiting the use of no-knock warrants during drug searches and other police functions, “when they are not essential to protect public safety.” No-knock warrants have been consistently criticized for their tendency to result in unnecessary violence, including the March 13 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor during a botched drug raid in Louisville, Georgia.
For the federal Executive Branch, LEAP recommends reestablishing Department of Justice pattern-or-practice investigations and returning to the Obama-era 21st Century Policing Initiative, which was launched in the wake of the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Missouri that resulted from the police killing of Michael Brown.
Click here to read LEAP’s full letter.
The LEAP recommendations come amid widespread calls for police reforms after a week of unrest resulting from the May 25 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Other organizations have similarly launched calls to action, including the #8CantWait campaign, which is a movement announced this week during a town hall with former President Barack Obama that pushes for U.S. mayors to adopt eight specific policies proven to immediately reduce incidents of police brutality and abuse of power.
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