The following announcement leaves me with some necessary questions. As a young police officer greatly influenced by President Johnson’s 1967 commission on improving policing and our justice system, I pray that this new commission will be as diverse and bi-partisan as the Johnson commission and that this newly appointed group will build on the work of the 2015 task force on policing.
We still have a major problem in our nation concerning race and policing which brings into focus the use of deadly force by police, the lack of trust police have among communities of color, and how police work together with citizens in preventing crime and disorder.
This is a great opportunity for our nation to put its values into standards and then into practice.
With little fanfare, President Trump in late October signed an executive order creating the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The commission is one that police and civil rights groups have sought for years, looking for big ideas on how to approach national problems confronting law enforcement, such as diversifying police forces, addressing racial inequities and using technology to improve crime-fighting.
But where the legislation called for co-chairs appointed by the president and Congress, and required at least four law enforcement and two tribal law enforcement officials, Trump’s executive order merely states, “The attorney general shall determine the composition of and procedures for the functioning of the commission,” to include naming the chairman and also for the attorney general to invite elected state, local and tribal officials.