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.

Crime Surge! — Blood, Well-Told Half-Truths, And Statistics

Chuck DeVore | October 8, 2015
This commentary originally appeared in Forbes on October 7, 2015. In the wake of urban unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore a particular meme has developed that crime is spiking. From the…

Search Warrants Now Required For ‘Stingray’ Device Usage By Federal Authorities

Michael Haugen | September 4, 2015
Yesterday, the Department of Justice issued a new policy directive regarding federal law enforcement’s use of so-called “Stingray” devices, which essentially function as dummy cell towers to acquire certain…

Texas Gov. Abbott Signs A Wide Variety Of Criminal Justice Reform Bills Into Law

Michael Haugen | June 22, 2015
Fresh on the heels of the juvenile justice reform bills he signed into law late last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott followed suit on Saturday by signing a wide…

Report: Local Jails Have Significant Costs That Must Be Accurately Stated Before Pursuing Reforms

Michael Haugen | May 29, 2015
In the last decade, much attention has been brought forth about the burgeoning state of our nation’s various justice systems. Lawmakers, communities, and other interested parties have recognized that…

Obama Administration Announces Rollback Of Controversial Surplus Military Equipment Program For Law Enforcement Agencies

Michael Haugen | May 18, 2015
After an announcement made by Obama administration officials on Monday, it will now be more difficult for state and local law enforcement agencies to acquire surplus military hardware under…

Senate Bill 1529 Holds Poorly Performing Law Enforcement Agencies Accountable To Texan Communities

Michael Haugen | May 11, 2015
A new bill being deliberated in the Texas House this week seeks to create additional oversight of law enforcement agencies tasked with serving Texan communities. Authored by Sen. Konni…

Second Chances: Sensible Expansion Of Non-Disclosure Orders Can Help Some Become Productive Citizens

Michael Haugen | May 7, 2015
  In an attempt to ease the ability of individuals with certain minor criminal records to obtain a job or secure housing, the Texas legislature is currently deliberating on…

Bringing Balance to Pretrial Proceedings: Solutions for Early Representation of Indigent Defendants

Marc Levin | May 1, 2015
Introduction In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in Texas prison reform. Prison, however, is just one component of the criminal justice system. It is jails,…

Oliver Covers Asset Forfeiture on Last Week Tonight

Right on Crime | April 23, 2015
“Public trust in the police is one of the most vital elements in a civilized society, but for many Americans, that trust has been undermined by a procedure called…

Gov. Daugaard Signs Juvenile Justice Overhaul in South Dakota

Right on Crime | March 13, 2015
South Dakota, a state with one of the highest rates of juvenile incarceration, has just taken some meaningful action on the subject, as Senate Bill 73 – the Juvenile Justice Public…

Right on Crime Applauds End of Equitable Sharing Program at DOJ

Right on Crime | January 17, 2015
Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the end of Equitable Sharing, the process through which state and local law enforcement agencies use the lower-standard federal law to bypass…

Harris County Summit: Pretrial and Mental Health Solutions

Right on Crime | January 8, 2015
In December of 2014 professionals from across the board gathered in Harris County to discuss and answer questions about two pressing issues the criminal justice system is facing: pretrial…
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