Law Enforcement

THE ISSUE. Our police play a critical role in government’s core function of protecting rights and keeping the peace. They are an integral part of our communities and our government at every level.  Ensuring they remain both a part of the community as well as fulfilling their role within the government is vital to both liberty and public safety.

THE ISSUES. The militarization of our police, whereby their outward appearance and display of weapons, uniforms, and equipment convey the image of a soldier at war rather than a keeper of the peace (and the accompanying preference for force over other options to solve problems) breaks the necessary bonds between the community and its police officers.  Federal incentives such as the 1033 program circumvent the normal appropriation of funding for this equipment, cutting out any involvement in managing acquisitions outside the police agency itself.

The use of civil asset forfeiture to supplement or meet budgeting requirements puts law enforcement in the position of revenue generation, with similar damage to the relationship between the police and their communities.

– Increase community engagement in policy formation for their police departments, including the selection and deployment of equipment and uniforms. Require approval from the jurisdiction’s governing body before receiving grants and equipment from programs such as 1033 or federal grant funding.

– Establish hiring and training standard to ensure that each police officer is capable of the job the community expects him or her to perform.

– Engage lawmakers at all levels of government in considering the laws they put forth to be enforced by our police officers, with consideration for the impact enforcement will have on both safety and the relationship with the community.

– Establish proper methods of appropriating resources to our police forces commensurate with their importance as core functions of government to eliminate reliance on civil asset forfeiture in budgetary considerations.

The Conservative Case for Policing Reforms

Randy Petersen | February 23, 2018
In this new report policing expert Randy Petersen outlines the conservative case for policing reforms. Having spent 21 years in law enforcement, Petersen introduces four recommended areas for reform.…

The Case for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Currie Myers | November 30, 2017
“I pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State and to enforce the laws of the State and the United…

The Mischaracterization of Conservative Criminal Justice Reform

Randy Petersen | November 6, 2017
This article by Randy Petersen originally appeared in The Hill, November 3rd, 2017. The primary goal of conservative criminal justice reform is increased public safety with a secondary emphasis on…

Las Vegas Shooting — Let’s Hold the Politics and Unite Behind Those Grieving in Nevada

Right on Crime | October 2, 2017
This article by Right on Crime Signatory Bernard Kerik, originally appeared in Fox News, October 2nd, 2017. Sunday night, a deranged lone gunman fired hundreds of rounds from automatic…

GAO: ‘Enhanced Controls’ Needed to Prevent Fraudulent Surplus Military Gear Transfers

Michael Haugen | July 27, 2017
A controversial federal program providing surplus military gear to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies hasn’t been properly verifying applications for the transfer of various controlled property, including…

Is It Time to Scale Back on SWAT Teams?

Randy Petersen | May 19, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on May 18, 2017. It began with an Austin Police helicopter circling the skies over his normally quiet neighborhood and ended with tear…

Fines, Fees, and Forfeiture Under the Commission on Civil Rights’ Microscope

Right on Crime | May 3, 2017
This blog post was written by Right on Crime research associates Jace Waechter and Brian Bensimon. Recently, the Commission on Civil Rights held a hearing to investigate the Department of…

United, Ferguson, Abu-Ghraib, And The L.A. Riots At 25: Lessons Learned

Chuck DeVore | May 2, 2017
This article, written by Chuck DeVore, originally appeared in Forbes on April 27, 2017. 25 years ago, I was leading patrols in riot-torn Los Angeles as an Army National…

Pre-Arrest and Pre-Booking Diversion and Mental Health in Policing

Right on Crime | April 19, 2017
Our senior policing researcher Randy Petersen considers the current state of research indicating that certain pre-booking or pre-arrest diversion programs show promise in reducing recidivism.

Recording the Police

Right on Crime | April 19, 2017
In this new policy perspective, our policing expert Randy Petersen considers the myriad issues involved with the recording of law enforcement activities—from ensuring public safety during potentially tense situations,…

President Trump Keeps Safety, Law Enforcement, and Victims at Top of Mind

Joe Luppino-Esposito | March 3, 2017
In his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump covered a wide range of issues facing the US, including crime rates. Though many in the media have greatly exaggerated…

Randy Petersen on ‘The Lars Larson Show’: Policing Is A “Uniquely Local” Idea

Michael Haugen | January 18, 2017
Randy Petersen, our senior researcher of policing, recently appeared on “The Lars Larson Show” to discuss his latest commentary in The Hill, which pushes back against suggestions that have…
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