March 15, 2000 - Issue: Vol. 146, No. 29 — Daily Edition106th Congress (1999 - 2000) - 2nd Session
INTRODUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT TRUST AND INTEGRITY ACT OF 2000; Congressional Record Vol. 146, No. 29
(Extensions of Remarks - March 15, 2000)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E321] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT TRUST AND INTEGRITY ACT OF 2000 ______ HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR. of michigan in the house of representatives Wednesday, March 15, 2000 Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2000, along with additional cosponsors. This legislation is supported by both police and civil rights organizations around the country and is aimed at curbing outrages like the Los Angeles Rampart Division perjury scandal and tragedies such as the Amadou Diallo shooting. Unlike past measures, the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2000 takes a comprehensive approach at addressing the issue of police accountability and building trust between police departments and their communities. The purpose of the legislation is to build trust between law enforcement entities, officials and the people they serve. Specifically, the legislation provides incentives for local police organizations to voluntarily adopt performance-based standards to ensure that incidents of misconduct will be minimized through appropriate management, training and oversight protocols and that if such incidents occur, that they will be properly investigated. The bill also provides police officers--the vast majority of whom are decent people who are concerned about their communities--with the tools necessary to work with their communities and to enhance their professional growth and education. Specifically, our bill makes 12 concrete steps toward improving law enforcement management and misconduct prosecution tools and has the support of a broad range of legal, community-based and law enforcement groups, including: the NAACP; Urban League; LULAC; NCLR; National Asian Pacific Legal Consortium; National Lawyer's Guild; ACLU; NOBLE; National Black Police Association; and the United Methodist Church. 1. Accreditation of Local Law Enforcement Agencies--Authorizes the Department of Justice to work cooperatively with independent accreditation, law enforcement and community-based organizations to further develop and refine accreditation standards that can serve as models for police departments around the country in trying to balance proper law enforcement with respect for liberties. This section also authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of developing such standards and obtaining appropriate certification. 2. Law Enforcement Agency Development Programs--Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to States and local governments to develop pilot programs such as civilian review boards, early warning and detection programs which have been proven effective in many jurisdictions. 3. Administrative Due Process Procedures--Requires the Attorney General to study the prevalence and impact of any law, rule or procedure which interferes with prompt and thorough investigations of abuse. 4. Enhanced Funding of Civil Rights Division--Authorizes appropriations for expenses for ongoing investigations of pattern-and- practice-of-abuse investigations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 14141, and authorizes appropriations for expenses related to programs managed by the Community Relations Service. 5. Enhanced Authority in Pattern and Practice Investigations--Amends 42 U.S.C. 14141 to provide private cause of actions, but limits the provision only to declaratory and injunctive relief when there is a pattern and practice of discrimination. 6. Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law--Amends section 242 of Title 18 of the United States Code to provide the needed statutory clarification requested by the Department of Justice to expressly define excessive use of force and non-consensual sexual conduct as deprivations of rights under color of law. 7. Study of Deaths in Custody--Amends section 20101(b) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C.A. 13701) to require assurances that States will follow guidelines established by the Attorney General for reporting deaths in custody. 8. National Task Force on Law Enforcement Oversight--Requires the Department of Justice to establish a task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct. 9. Immigration Enforcement Review Commission--Creates a commission to investigate civil rights complaints against the INS and Customs Services, with authority to make policy and disciplinary recommendations. 10. Federal Data Collection on Racial Profiling--Requires the Justice, Treasury and Interior Departments to collect data concerning the personal characteristics (race, ethnicity and gender) of individuals targeted for investigation (e.g., detention, traffic stop or warrantless search) by federal law enforcement agencies and requires the Justice Department to prepare a ``master report'' analyzing the findings and recommending improved policies and procedures. 11. Whistleblower Protection--The bill establishes civil and criminal penalties for retaliation against law enforcement officers who in good faith disclose, initiate or advocate on behalf of a civilian complainant in actions alleging police misconduct and creates private cause of action for retaliation. 12. Sexual Abuse in Correctional Facilities--Amends chapter 109A of title 18 to increase penalties and expand jurisdiction for sexual abuse offenses in correctional facilities. The catalogue of high-profile incidents of police misconduct grows with each passing day. With the Rampart perjury scandal, Amadou Diallo shooting and Abner Louima assault, it should now be clear to all members, and the nation at-large, that police misconduct is an issue that we must address in a bipartisan manner. The energies of Congress should be focused on the adoption of legislative priorities that address the substance of law enforcement management and strengthen the current battery of tools available to sanction misconduct. As a Congress we have been enthusiastic about supporting programs designed to get officers on the street. We must be just as willing to support programs designed to train and manage them after they get there. The current national climate requires decisive action to implement solutions. This legislation initiates the reforms necessary to restore public trust and accountability to law enforcement. ____________________