Written by North Country Now on June 22, 2020

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is cosponsoring the JUSTICE Act, the House companion legislation to Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) police reform legislation in the Senate.

Stefanik’s office said the bill “expands upon proposals outlined in President Trump’s Executive Order on policing. It brings meaningful reforms to our police forces across the country to improve police-community relations, end police brutality by increasing transparency and accountability measures, and increasing officer training requirements.”

Provisions in the bill, according to Stefanik’s office, include:

• Annual reporting on use of force — data on the use of force that involves death, serious bodily injury, or the discharge of a firearm, by law enforcement and against law enforcement;

• Reporting on the use of “no-knock” warrants, and whether the warrant application was accurate, if force was used, or if a death or injury occurs;

• Requires law enforcement agencies to maintain and share disciplinary records for officer hiring considerations. Retained records includes those records substantiated and adjudicated by a government agency or court resulting in criminal charges or an adverse action by the employing law enforcement agency. Law enforcement must retain records for 30 years;

• Provides $500 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras, improve use of body cameras, and store and retain footage;

• Increases criminal penalties for any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies a police report;

• Makes it unlawful for a federal law enforcement officer to engage in sexual acts while acting under color of law with an individual who is under arrest, in detention, or in custody;

• Bans the use of chokeholds for all situations other than those in which deadly force is authorized, in conformance with the 2017 Law Enforcement Consensus Policy;

• Directs the attorney general to develop training curricula, and certify public and private entities to offer training, regarding the duty of a law enforcement officer to intervene when another law enforcement officer is engaged in excessive force;

• Provides $500 million for law enforcement agencies to pay for costs associated with duty to intervene training;

• Requires DOJ to develop and provide training that will enable law enforcement officers to better serve their communities with a focus on de-escalation techniques and law enforcement interaction with mentally ill individuals. Both public and private sector entities will be able to be certified to offer courses;

• Provides $225 million in additional grant funds;

• Reauthorizes the Department of Justice’s COPS on the Beat and Byrne JAG grant programs, whose authorization of appropriations lapsed in 2009 and 2012, respectively, Stefanik’s office said;

• Makes lynching a federal crime Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act. The “bipartisan commission will issue a wide-ranging report on conditions affecting black men and boys, including education, health care, financial status, and the criminal justice system,” Stefanik’s office said;

“During this challenging time in our country, The JUSTICE Act is critical legislation to bring meaningful reforms to policing across our nation so that communities are better protected,” Stefanik said in a prepared statement. “The North Country has strong and effective relationships with our law enforcement community, and this legislation will build upon those relationships by improving accountability and transparency, increasing officer training, and putting an end to police brutality and excessive force anywhere in our country. I urge House Democrats to join us in this effort. It is my hope that George Floyd’s memory will be honored throughout this process, as his tragic loss of life was the catalyst to bring this true reform.”

You can read the full article at https://www.northcountrynow.com/