Resolution in Support of Police Data Transparency
WHEREAS, police officers fulfill one of the most challenging and important roles in our society, carrying out their mission to serve and protect all Americans even at great risk to themselves, and, though the vast majority of officers perform exceptionally, transparency and accountability are valuable both to promote greater public confidence in police and ensure the actions of a few officers do not overshadow the indispensable work done by overwhelming majority of members of this noble profession; and
WHEREAS, according to the Council on Criminal Justice, no single existing data source has fully verified details on contextual factors surrounding deaths of civilians by police officers, making it impossible to know which fatalities involve armed or unarmed citizens, “suicide by cop” episodes, domestic situations, or active shooters; and
WHEREAS, in 2019, the FBI established the National Use of Force Data Collection but the program is strictly voluntary, and to date just 27 percent of agencies have contributed data; and
WHEREAS, an analysis published in Yale Law Review found that three percent of all active police officers employed in the state of Florida had been previously fired from a law enforcement agency; and
WHEREAS, a University of California Riverside study found that officers with a previous history of shooting were more than 51% as likely to discharge their firearms as officers without a history of shootings; and
WHEREAS, the FBI reported that, among those 9,457 law enforcement agencies that reported such data to the FBI in 2019 which account for agencies serving about two-thirds of the U.S. population, there were some 56,034 reported assaults against officers; and
WHEREAS, state-based decertification registries can enable law enforcement hiring managers to discern whether job candidates have been terminated for misconduct; and
WHEREAS, Arizona and Nevada have recently established or enhanced their use-of-force reporting requirements to state authorities or the FBI Use-of-Force Data Collection program, with Nevada’s law requiring agencies to submit use-of-force incident data to a central state repository and publicly release it monthly; and
WHEREAS, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, and California have recently enacted laws to establish decertification registries and practices or enhance existing ones; and
WHEREAS, in 2019 Utah established a statute directing all law enforcement agencies to document and report incidents where a forcible entry is made or a tactical group is deployed, releasing a summary report of these data on an annual basis.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in promotion of better and more transparent policing, supports legislation providing a legal framework and the necessary capacity for collecting and making publicly available aggregate data on police officer uses of force in accordance with FBI standards; assaults against police officers, arrests by available demographic information of the arresting police officer, motorists and pedestrians; and outcomes; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that ALEC supports state legislation establishing or enhancing a registry of police officers who, following appropriate due process, have been terminated with cause or who resigned while under investigation for misconduct and requiring law enforcement agencies to routinely submit names to the registry and to consult the registry when vetting candidates for employment. No law enforcement agency shall take any action concerning any person on the registry unless they confirm the name of the person on the registry or use a unique identifier.