Here’s what police chiefs think Biden should do to help address issues with law enforcement

Within the framework of the PERF (Executive Police Research Forum), a survey was conducted among almost 400 police chiefs. Police chiefs from all over the country have been invited to determine the priorities of the new government. Two best results: Increasing public confidence and calling for reforms.

It is not clear what Biden can do, and the composition of the U.S. Senate depends on certain election results in Georgia. In November, Biden’s transition team met with the Order of the Police Brotherhood and since then with other law enforcement groups.

The leaders interviewed at the end of November were asked to identify three issues that needed to be addressed urgently.

A clear majority said that they hoped the Biden government would help to build confidence in the police. 76% said this was a priority and 57% wanted to respond to calls for police reform.

Less than half of the respondents – 43% – indicated that reducing crime is one of the three main priorities for the coming year.

We need to rebuild trust.

Another question in the survey was how the Chiefs would advise the president if they had the chance to meet him alone on his first day, and many of their responses touched on the idea of restoring confidence.

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We can’t do our job if the public doesn’t trust us, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Cheatwood of Volusia County, Florida, told CNN.

The vast majority of executives and officers say: Show us where we can do better and we’re all for it. They have an old guard sticking their heels in the sand, just like everything else. But if we don’t get trusted in our communities, if we deal with people, it won’t work. It’s hard enough when it’s good, let alone bad. To fight crime effectively, we need to restore confidence.

Chitwood has about 500 MPs in Daytona Beach County. He advocated a greater role for law enforcement because his office is the only hand of government that people usually see.

His deputies recently completed 60 hours of crisis intervention training, he said. And when he was chief of police in Daytona Beach, the cops helped organize after-school and summer programs for children, as well as sports and life skills.

These obligations are not specific to law enforcement. But, according to Chitwood, as long as officials are asked to respond to emergency calls when problems arise, they must have a relationship with a community that exists outside law enforcement.

I have to look at it from my point of view – when you do educational things, sporting things, mentoring, he said. This is the future of law enforcement for us.

Many interviewees want Biden to publicly support the implementation of the law

The vast majority of those interviewed said they would like Biden to publicly support enforcement and highlight recent reform measures, according to a summary report published by PERF.

The leaders interviewed considered that the gap between Republicans and Democrats is widening as the gap between the police and the communities they serve.

The public wants good police. Cops want to do their job. This is an opportunity to set the tone, said Chuck Wexler, CEO of PERF, CNN.

The president can start, and the people will follow. We’ve had a very difficult nine months with Covid-19, the economy has hit the cities, and now the number of murders is increasing rapidly. The research emphasizes the need to restore public confidence and sets the tone in the country.

In their replies, officials noted that, according to the survey summary, the new administration could manage without the support of many law enforcement agencies, in particular ordinary officials.

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Lack of trust among police officers, some of whom fear that the police agenda will be watered down, has been identified as a potential obstacle to reform.

Police neutralisation is a solution proposed by a growing group of dissidents who suggest that the solution to police violence and racial inequality in police work is police neutralisation.

They argue that instead of financing the police, a large part of the city’s budget should be invested in municipalities, especially in marginalised groups.

Some officials claim that there is a lack of funding for the basic needs of the police.

Others have noted a lack of resources to adequately finance the basic needs of the police and to implement the necessary reforms, with some authorities now faced with austerity measures, while others may face cuts in the future as a result of calls to dismantle police budgets and the municipal budgets destroyed by Kovid-19.

Training and technology are expensive and with shrinking budgets it is becoming increasingly difficult for police forces to cope.

Chitwood said he equips detectives and SWAT teams in his district with body cameras.

His desk also produces body cameras using force and is part of a pilot program in which a command, gun or taser would trigger body cameras within 75 feet of the officer.

Chitwood said he was considering his own department’s policy on body cells after the national unrest that followed the death of Braonna Taylor, who had been shot by police and forcibly entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, to issue a search warrant in a drug investigation.

Well, as sheriff, I’m here, especially after Bronna Taylor. I’ve never realized that we issue more arrest warrants for Internet crimes against children than anything else, Chitwood said.

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We do 50 at-risk drugs, but the inspectors issue arrest warrants for these guys for pornography or exploitation, this year we did 72, without body cameras. You knock on the door of someone wanted for a crime that could last a lifetime. So now they all have surveillance cameras on the body.

The police chiefs interviewed by PERF said they wanted the reforms to be science-based, meaningful, realistic and/or fair, and some even proposed a sham task force after it was convened by former President Barack Obama.

The task force met in 2014 after police fired in Ferguson, Missouri and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. It is composed of police chiefs and heads of groups working on law enforcement reform.

The Ministry of Justice concluded in its report that the evidence in Brown’s shooting did not support the charges against the prosecutor who killed him, but that the shooting had fuelled calls for reform and social movements.

Obama’s task force has made recommendations for changes that will improve police performance, and his administration has provided grants to some departments to implement those changes.

If we make progress, we have to get back to work, according to Wexler of PERF. We need that confidence factor. This is the price many cities pay. There is a lack of trust, and it needs to be rebuilt.

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