SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS Tables
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NATIONAL POLICE TRAINING COMMISSION ACT OF 1999
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
MAY 12, 1999
Serial No. 44
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
JAMES E. ROGAN, California
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
MARY BONO, California
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
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JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., General Counsel-Chief of Staff
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Chief Counsel and Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
May 12, 1999
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TEXT OF BILL
Hyde, Hon. Henry J., a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and chairman, Committee on the Judiciary
Baird, Callie L., administrator in charge, Office of Professional Standards, Chicago Police Department
Davis, Julius, deputy chief of police, Los Angeles Police Department
Flynn, Edward A., chief of police, Arlington County Police Department and Police Executive Research Forum, chairman of the Legislative Committee
Gainer, Terrence W., assistant chief of police, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Hampton, Ron, executive director, National Black Police Association
Meeks, Hon. Gregory, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York
Papa, Gerard J., New York, NY
Pfeifer, Martin L., trustee, National Fraternal Order of Police
Roberts, Charles B., assistant deputy superintendent, Chicago Police Department
Serrano, Hon. Jose, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York
Shelton, Hiliary, director, Washington Bureau of the NAACP
Walsh, Hon. James T., a Representative in Congress from the State of New York
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Baird, Callie L., administrator in charge, Office of Professional Standards, Chicago Police Department: Prepared statement
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Davis, Julius, deputy chief of police, Los Angeles Police Department: Prepared statement
Flynn, Edward A., chief of police, Arlington County Police Department and Police Executive Research Forum, chairman of the Legislative Committee: Prepared statement
Hampton, Ron, executive director, National Black Police Association: Prepared statement
Jackson Lee, Hon. Sheila, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas: Prepared statement
Meeks, Hon. Gregory, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
NAACP Report on Police Conduct and Community Relations: ''Beyond The Rodney King Story''
Nadler, Hon. Jerrold, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
Papa, Gerard J., New York, NY: Prepared statement
Pfeifer, Martin L., trustee, National Fraternal Order of Police: Prepared statement
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Roberts, Charles B., assistant deputy superintendent, Chicago Police Department: Prepared statement
Scully, Robert T., executive director, National Association of Police Organizations, Inc.: Prepared statement
Serrano, Hon. Jose, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
Shelton, Hiliary, director, Washington Bureau of the NAACP: Prepared statement
Walsh, Hon. James T., a Representative in Congress from the State of New York: Prepared statement
Wood, Clarence N., chairman, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and president, The Human Relations Foundation of Chicago: Prepared statement
NATIONAL POLICE TRAINING COMMISSION ACT OF 1999
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 1999
House of Representatives,
Committee on the Judiciary,
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The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Henry J. Hyde, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., George W. Gekas, Howard Coble, Lamar S. Smith, Charles T. Canady, Ed Bryant, Steve Chabot, Asa Hutchinson, James R. Rogan, Lindsey O. Graham, John Conyers, Jr., Howard Berman, Jerrold Nadler, Robert C. Scott, Melvin L. Watt, Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, William D. Delahunt, and Anthony Weiner.
Staff present: Thomas E. Mooney, Sr., general counsel-chief of staff; Jon Dudas, deputy general counsel-staff director; Joseph Gibson, chief counsel; Rick Filkins, counsel; Sharee Freeman, counsel; Steve Pinkos, counsel; Patrick Prisco, assistant to the deputy general counsel-staff director; Susan Bogart, counsel; Samuel F. Stratman, communications director; James B. Farr, financial clerk; Shawn Friesen, staff assistant/clerk; Michael Connolly, press assistant; Patricia Katyoka, research assistant; Ray Smietanka, chief counsel, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law; Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel, Subcommittee on Crime, and Glenn R. Schmitt, counsel, Subcommittee on Crime.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HYDE
Mr. HYDE [presiding]. The committee will come to order. I want to thank my good friend and colleague, Jose Serrano, for his work on this important bill. There has been turmoil between the police and the community in his district, and like any other issue of significance, we can be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. His leadership and willingness to put politics aside paved the way for this bill.
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I also would like to thank all of the police officers throughout America who, daily, put their lives at risk to protect us. Police forces and police officers are crucial to the public safety to properly and effectively enforce the law and protect and serve the public. There is a need for trust and confidence between police and citizens.
There have been incidents involving police shootings in which citizens and police officers have been wounded and killed in other incidents involving use of force by police officers which have called into question the training of police officers as well as the recruiting, disciplinary, and oversight activities of police departments in general.
These incidents have contributed to a decline in the trust, confidence, and cooperation between citizens and police officers. This decline could in turn create a risk of increasing levels of fear, mistrust, and disrespect for government, and hostility between citizens and police. And while individual incidents can be redressed, in part, through the criminal and civil court system, these processes do not provide a solution to the underlying problems, and don't focus on protecting and preserving life.
In our bill, we propose solutions designed to bolster the confidence the citizens have in their police and to provide effective training for police officers involved in serving and protecting the community in these increasingly difficult times.
The bill also provides for examining those occasions on which the police and citizens interact and the role that these events play and the use of force issues, including policing strategies, hiring, recruiting practices, disciplinary and oversight policies, the use of weapons, and of non-lethal force technologies, such as pepper sprays, arrests, searches, seizures, verbal communication, vehicle use, and community relations.
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The bill identifies four of the larger and more diverse metropolitan police departments to receive initial grant monies and to initiate training programs designed to enhance existing ongoing training. These larger metropolitan police departments have been selected as test cases or pilot programs, not because they have particular issues related to the use of force but in recognition that use of force issues exist in all police departments, and these four departments tend to experience a wider range of police-citizen contacts, use of force, and diversity issues. In addition, most of these departments have agreed to open their policies and practices to the study commission created as a part of the bill for the purpose of identifying effective training programs that will benefit all police departments nationwide.
The commission established in this legislation is bipartisan and will study these department's training, police strategies, and programs with an eye toward providing Congress with recommendations to promote effective law enforcement practices and to fostering better relations between the police and citizens. The commission will make recommendations to Congress as to any future role Congress and the Federal Government should have in these areas.
In this way, we hope to provide solutions designed to remedy any breakdown in trust and confidence citizens have with their police department, fostering awareness on the part of citizens about the policing functions and responsibilities, while simultaneously creating better trained and more effective policing to serve and protect our communities.
This proposal has the support of city mayors, community leaders, police chiefs, and the rank and file police officers. Each have provided input into the contents of the bill and the composition of the commission. We believe this bill takes the necessary step in the direction of solving the problems that are eroding the trust and confidence between police and the communities. If all in Congress and the administration can avoid the politicization of this issue and act with the same resolve and integrity demonstrated by Congressman Serrano, we can make the solutions in the bill a reality by this summer.
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[The bill, H.R. 1659, follows:]
H. R. 1659
To reinforce police training and reestablish police and community relations, and to create a commission to study and report on the policies and practices that govern the training, recruitment, and oversight of police officers, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MAY 4, 1999
Mr. SERRANO (for himself and Mr. HYDE) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To reinforce police training and reestablish police and community relations, and to create a commission to study and report on the policies and practices that govern the training, recruitment, and oversight of police officers, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999''.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT.
There is established a commission to be known as the ''National Police Training Commission'' (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the ''Commission'').
SEC. 3. MEMBERSHIP.
(a) NUMBER AND APPOINTMENT.The Commission shall be composed of 5 members appointed as follows:
(1) The majority and minority leaders of the Senate shall each appoint 1 member.
(2) The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House shall each appoint 1 member.
(3) The 4 members appointed under paragraphs (1) and (2) shall then select 1 member.
(b) ELIGIBILITY AND QUALIFICATIONS.
(1) ELIGIBILITY.The members of the Commission shall be individuals who have knowledge or expertise, whether by experience or training, in matters to be studied by the Commission under this Act. The members may be from the public or private sector, and may include Federal, State, or local officers or employees, members of academia, non-profit organizations, or other interested individuals.
(2) QUALIFICATIONS.The members of the Commission shall be individuals who possess relevant backgrounds, credentials, and experience in some or all of the following:
(A) Civil and criminal litigation.
(B) Administrative and management functions of law enforcement in major cities and smaller communities.
(C) Community relations.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (c) TERM.Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.
(d) LENGTH OF COMMISSION.The Commission shall cease to exist 180 days after the initial appointment of the 4 members described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a).
(e) VACANCIES.Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made, and shall not affect the power of the remaining members to execute the duties of the Commission. If any of the original appointments are not made by the day that is 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, any members already appointed shall fill any vacancy existing on that date.
(f) MEETINGS.The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson.
(g) CHAIRPERSON.The Chairperson of the Commission shall be elected by the members.
SEC. 4. FUNCTIONS.
(a) STUDY.The Commission shall conduct a study of the effectiveness of training, recruiting, hiring, oversight, and funding policies and practices in law enforcement, including the following:
(1) Training: policies, practices, and organizational strategies of law enforcement, and training and instruction in the use of force, the use of non lethal force, tactical and defensive tactical; arrests, searches and handcuffing; verbal communication; vehicle use; community relations and sensitivity training of law enforcement vis a vis the community and the community vis a vis law enforcement.
(2) Recruitment and Hiring: policies and practices in hiring and recruiting law enforcement officers and identifying and setting standards for hiring regarding educational and psychological backgrounds; diversity; lengths of probationary periods.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (3) Oversight: complaint procedures regarding police officers, including screening, organization, and training of investigatory staff; due process requirements for, and obstacles to, ensuring objective and
timely investigations; discrimination and harassment; the ''code of silence
(4) Funding: the effectiveness of the use of funding for programs relating to matters described in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection, whether derived from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 or otherwise, by cities listed in section 210501 of such Act.''.
(b) REPORT.Not later than 180 days after the initial appointment of the 4 members described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 3(a), the Commission shall submit a report to Congress of the results of its study, including any recommendations the Commission may make with regard to the matters studied.
SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.
(a) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES.The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under section 4. Upon the request of the Commission, the head of such department or agency may furnish such information to the Commission.
(b) COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS.Each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government, or whose compensation is not precluded by a State or local government position, shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (c) TRAVEL EXPENSES.The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of service for the Commission.
(1) IN GENERAL.The Chairman of the Commission may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. The employment and termination of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the Commission.
(2) COMPENSATION.The executive director shall be compensated at a rate not to exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code. The Chairman may fix the compensation of other personnel without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for such personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
(3) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.Any Federal Government employee, with the approval of the head of the appropriate Federal agency, may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status, benefits, or privilege.
(e) PROCUREMENT OF TEMPORARY AND INTERMITTENT SERVICES.The Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC (f) MEETINGS.The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman.
(g) QUORUM; VOTING; RULES.Two members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum to conduct business. Each member of the Commission shall have one vote, and the vote of each member shall be accorded the same weight. The Commission may establish by vote of a majority of its members any other rules for the conduct of the Commission's business, if such rules are not inconsistent with this Act or other applicable law.
SEC. 6. TRAINING.
Section 210501 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 is amended
(1) in subsection (b)(1)(A), by inserting '', and provide, under paragraph (4), training, recruitment, hiring, and oversight assistance'' before the semicolon; and
(2) in subsection (b), by adding at the end the following:
''(4) The training, recruitment, hiring, and oversight assistance under paragraph (1)(A) shall be given to the following cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington. The money appropriated for such assistance shall be distributed to those cities in proportion to the size of their police departments. There are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2000 for the purposes of such assistance the sum of $3,000,000.''.
Mr. HYDE At this time, I am pleased to yield to the ranking member from Michigan, Mr. Conyers, and any other opening statements that members may have will be made a part of the record. Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning to the members and witnesses that are here. We think this is a very important hearing, and I am not sure how we could politicize a hearing about police misconduct. This is a serious, ongoing, historically important matter that has been troubling this committee ever since I have been on it.
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Now, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louema, Jonny Gammage, Taisha Miller are just the names of a few of the hundreds of people who recently, without cause or justification, have been brutally killed or beaten by police. Police brutality and police misconduct, racial profiling, driving while blackall of these are issues that are very serious and that I hope will not be the subject of politicizationwhatever that meansby anybody. But when our would-be protectors become brutal aggressors, our legal system erodes. Entire communities lose confidence in the system, and civic mistrust spreads like a cancer. The notion of a Democracy is then turned on its head.
This is just one of the many problems of fairness in our criminal justice system that is long past due time for this committee to confront, and it is my hope that we will give more than lip service to this grave matter. It is time that we stop sticking our heads in the sand, and so I thank you, Chairman Hyde, for your willingness to confront this issue today and for your cooperation in getting our Democratic witnesses here today.
Obviously, the problem of police misconduct is not new nor is it confined just to African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, or other people of color. Indeed, there is a dreadful history to this issue; a history which impelled me as chairman of the one of the subcommittees on this committee to conduct extensive investigations and hearings around the country during the seventies and the eighties; hearings which in many places both community leaders and police publicly commended as an important attempt at bridge-building.
Now, consistently, we find the same things, thatand I want to emphasize this here todaythat most police officers are good and honest men and women who put themselves in harms way to protect us. I enjoy a very excellent relationship with the law enforcement community in this country. But, at the same time, there are many police who are not or who believe that a badge is a license to use force unaccountably or can act out their own personal, subjective views of citizens whom they don't like or who believe that being of color means that you are more inclined to be a criminal or who believe that the proverbial blue wall of silence means that no fellow police officer will ever testify against them regardless of what their conduct may be.
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These are the bad apples that spoil it for the rest of us, and, frankly, there has been so much study by Congress and outside organizations that I want to be the first to say this morning that we do not need another study. We need some meaningful action. We need meaningful relief, in what, you ask? Well, every major examination has told us that when police abuse occurs, there is no system in place for allegations to be independently examined, and, if necessary, prosecuted. That is the heart and soul of all of the studies that I have seen and am familiar with. So, moving any legislation that does not include a requirement that the local police department get a meaningful independent civilian review board does injustice and demeans the issue on which so many of us have worked for so long.
In addition, every examination and study has found that the need to get rid of the infamous 48-hour rule which prevents accused police officers from being questioned for 2 days after the alleged assault has been made over and over again. This is critical, because every major examination of this matter has found that false testimony by police accused of misconduct is pervasive.
In New York, the Mollen Commission did an excellent job; concluded that the practice of police falsification is so common that it has spawned its own new word, ''testilying.'' Judge Alex Rozinsky of the ninth circuit court publicly stated, ''It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors and defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officials.''
Well, just several months ago, this committee busied itself on the subject of perjury, so when it comes to matters of life and death, I hope it shows the same interest in it here. Further, the Department of Justice is now straight-jacketed into investigations that Congress mandated but because Congress has not funded the investigation in section 14141 of the Omnibus Crime bill, I offered a provision that gives the Attorney General powers of civil investigation and civil relief where patterns and practices of abuse occur. Only the Department of Justice can wield its justice without proper funding. It needs the funding and any legislation must address this problem.
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These are three examples of meaningful reform which all the studies have pointed to, matters which will be included in legislation that, shortly, myself, the gentlelady from California, Ms. Maxine Waters, and other members with me will shortly introduce and which I hope will be scheduled whenever your bill is scheduled, Mr. Chairman.
It is not that I think that a commission and a little more sensitivity training is a bad thing contained in the bill that is before us, but taken alone to the exclusion of more meaningful reform, I think it demeans the larger issue. The matters have been studied and be studied more without legislation. Sensitivity training may help some, but it is not going to solve any of the major problems, and so it is gravely disappointing to me that the majority did not see fit to even consult with the Democratic members on the committeeincluding the gentleman from New York, Mr. Serranomembers who have spent decades on this issue before proposing this legislation. So, I think no one can take any political cover or solace with mere commissions. What we need is meaningful reform, and I look forward to working with all the members on the committee and in the Congress on that objective, and I thank you for the time to give my statement.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Conyers, and I can assure you, this committee will take the oath very seriously, more seriously than, perhaps, it has been taken by some.
In any event, our first witness is Congressman Jose E. Serrano. He represents New York's 16th district which includes the South Bronx. He has been a Member of Congress for 9 years and is the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary, and related agencies of the House Appropriations Committee. He has served as chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and on the Judiciary Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, Mr. Serrano had a distinguished 16-year career in the New York State Assembly, including 6 years as chairman of the Education Committee.
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The committee thanks you and all the witnesses in advance for their testimony. I also would like to remind you that the committee requests that you limit your oral testimony to 5 minutes. Your written statement will be entered into the record in its entirety.
Our next witness after Mr. Serrano will be Congressman Gregory Meeks. He represents New York's sixth congressional district, and he was elected to the House on February 3, 1998. He is a member of the Committee on House Banking and Financial Services and the Committee on International Relations. Raised in East Harlem's public housing, Congressman Meeks attended New York City public schools before attending Adelphi University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in political science. He received his law degree from Howard University School of Law. After law school, he joined the Queens County District Attorney's Office as assistant district attorney. In 1992, he was elected to the New York State Assembly where he served for 5 years.
Our final witness in this first panel is Congressman James Walsh. He represents central New York's 25th district in the House and as a member of the Committee on Appropriations. Mr. Walsh is chairman of the Subcommittee on the Departments of Veterans' Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies. He is also on the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration, and the Subcommittee on Military Construction. A history major graduate of St. Boneventure University, Mr. Walsh is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, social services case worker, and telephone company executive. He served as director of the Telecommunication Institute at the State University of New York and taught telecommunication policy. At the same time, he served on the city council in Syracuse, New York, as its president.
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The committee is very pleased to welcome these three distinguished Members of Congress, and, Mr. Serrano, the floor is yours.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. The gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. GEKAS. Yes, just before starting, since the gentleman from New York is going to be the first witness, I have read the bill, and I wanted to get the sense from the author as well as with the chairman as to whether or not hearings are contemplated in the work of the commission to be established. The bill does not specifically state that they shall have the right or even duty to conduct hearings. Is it implicit in the language that the authors intended that or not?
Mr. HYDE. I would say whatever is necessary for the commissioners to learn what they need to learn, and that is how well policemen are trained in these very delicate mattershow well or unwell they arewhat needs to be done. I would think hearings would be a part of what they are doing.
Mr. GEKAS. If counsel believes somewhere down the line that should be specifically stated, I will be amenable to amendment in that regard.
Mr. HYDE. I thank you for your contribution. Mr. Serrano.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. JOSE SERRANO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Serrano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CONYERS. Turn on your mike, sir.
Mr. Serrano. Thank you for inviting me here this morning. I am grateful for all of the chairman's highest efforts in trying to end an ever increasing pattern of police abuse and misconduct which is plaguing New York City and our Nation.
Let me first say that I believe that this issue has to be dealt with from different approaches and including different, perhaps, pieces of legislation. That is why I am also supportive of Ranking Member Conyers' bill which I am co-sponsoring to deal with yet another part of this very serious issue.
I have met with Chairman Hyde on several occasions since early February after the fatal shooting of my constituent, an unarmed native of Guinea, Mr. Amadou Diallo, at the hands of four New York City police officers. For weeks, the chairman and I discussed the problem of police brutality and misconduct and directed staff to develop the commission legislation. At that time, as you recall, Mr. Chairman, I came to you and told you that the concern I had was one that was not being discussed in public, and I alluded to it in this way: that I remember how in my communities, specifically, the older Puerto Rican members, neighbors of mine, were always telling the younger folks, ''The police are our friends. The police need our support. The police need our respect.'' And that now I was seeing those very same senior citizens on picket lines and demonstrations with statements, such as, ''I don't feel safe. I don't feel safe for my children or for my grandchildren.'' To me, that became an issue that could not be ignored.
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I also told you at that timewhich I think prompted this reaction from you in terms of legislationthat it would be simple and, perhaps, too simplistic for me to say that this was all due to racism. While I believe that there is a great deal in this issue that has to do with race relations, I felt that there were other things that had to be looked at, and I presented to you my thoughts that perhaps we needed to look totally from the time a person decides to become a police officer to the time that person is trained, assigned, appointed, and how their behavior is monitored during the time that they are on the police force.
It is for that reason that I am so proud to have introduced, along with you and others, the National Police Training Commission Act of 1999. A bipartisan effort to determine the causes of incidents of police brutality which would focus specifically on the adequacy of police recruitment, training, assignment, and enforcement of use of force policies in big city police departments. The bill would also examine use of non-lethal force, verbal communication, community relations, and sensitivity training. Large metropolitan police departments have been selected as test cases, because they tend to experience a wider range of issues.
This commission would be appointed by the leadership of the Senate and the House on the basis of their relevant knowledge, credentials, experience, and background in civil and criminal litigation, and experience in administrative and management functions of law enforcement. Most importantly, we would begin to look at New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles as examples of where we need to look, and, in addition, the bill would authorize $3 million for Fiscal Year 2000 which would be distributed among these cities to begin some of the issues that we want to discuss.
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Since the 4th of February, Mr. Chairman, and the killing of Mr. Diallo, my congressional district has been very much involved in persuading the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to investigate New York City's police department as well as the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation in New York. Since that time, more than 1,200 people under the leadership of the Reverend Al Sharpton have been arrested. I take an arrest of any kind, Mr. Chairman, as a very serious thing. I, along with Congressman Meeks and other Members of this House, were arrested. In my case, I was held for over 6 hours, half of those in handcuffs, for something that I believed in. I didn't take that action lightly, and it was my way ofmy first step in saying that something was wrong, and something had to be dealt with.
Let me just close, Mr. Chairman, by telling you what I think this commission needs to deal with and why I think it is important. First of all, part of the problem is the fact that there are a majority of police officers in New York City who are ill-trained and who come from communities outside of New York. But I don't think simply that a residency law for New York City, in my case, or the hiring of more minority officers would solve the problem. I would get no joy to have my son shot or assaulted by a Puerto Rican officer who is ill-trained. The problem is deeper than that. And, so I question, what if a young man who lives in a suburb of New York City, for instance, decides to be a police officer? How did that young man grow up? Did he hear comments about my community and the African-American community at church, in the schoolyard, at the supermarket, at the bowling alley? And what happened to that young person as he grew up with that information? Is there a way that prior to allowing this person to carry a badge and a weapon that we find out where that person's feelings are at; where that person's pains are at; where that person's ignorance is at, and how that person feels about the very community that that person will be policing. I sometimes say that if you are a non-believer in God, you should not be a reverend or a priest or a rabbi. If you don't care whether people live or die, you should not be a doctor, and if you have no respect or sensitivity for minority groups in the inner city, well, perhaps, you shouldn't be allowed to be a police officer; in fact, you shouldn't. How do we find that out is part of what we have to look at.
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Another problem that we have, Mr. Chairmanand I will close with thisis the fact that I believe that in many instances police officers have no clue as to the backgroundthe cultural background, the economic backgroundof the people they are policing. They expect the community to understand them and to support them, but they have no way of understanding and supporting the community, and so sometimes out of that ignorance, that fear, or that hate, they move to that last resort that a police officer should move to as a first step and that is to pull the weapon.
I set myself up as an example of some of the cultural differences that exist in our society. When I came as a young man from Puerto Rico not speaking any English, I came from a culture where a young man never looked an adult in the face when being scolded or reprimanded. I came into a culture where the opening line when you scold a child is ''Look at me when I talk to you.'' I did not, and teachers for a while thought I was a miserable problem, because I would not look at the teacher in the face. Well, does a police officer know that an immigrant upon faced by the police, the first thing he may do is reach for his green card to identify himself, not for anything else? Does a police officer know that a person with an accent who mispronounces words is not being insulting but just trying to get a message across? And does a police officer know that some people come from societies where force is used in such a way where the sight of a person in uniform makes the person back off and perhaps try to go away? Does a police officer know that?
Hopefully, this commission, Mr. Chairman, will begin to look at all these issues, and, hopefully, we will know what the causes are for this problem. We will continue to work on the other issuesthe issue of racism, the issue of forcebut we have to look at the root issues of all these problems of police officers. And, again, I repeat for the last time, if it is not about training, I get no satisfaction out of being mistreated by a police officer from my own community. I want all police officers to be trained properly.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Serrano follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. JOSE SERRANO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Conyers, and Members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here this morning.
I am grateful for all of Chairman Hyde's efforts in trying to end an ever-increasing pattern of police abuse and misconduct, which is plaguing New York City and our nation. Chairman Hyde is deeply involved in this issue and we are working well together. I look forward to working with the ranking member on this very important legislation.
I have met with Chairman Hyde on several occasions since early February, after the fatal shooting of my constituent, an unarmed native of Guinea, Mr. Amadou Diallo, at the hands of the four New York City police officers. For weeks, the Chairman and I discussed the problem of police brutality and misconduct and directed staff to develop the commission legislation. Today, I am proud to have introduced the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999,'' a bipartisan effort to determine the causes of incidents of police brutality which would focus specifically on the adequacy of police recruitment, training, assignment and enforcement of use-of-force policies in big city police departments. The bill will also examine use of nonlethal force, verbal communication, community relations and sensitivity training. Large metropolitan police departments have been selected as test cases because they tend to experience a wider range of issues.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The five member commission would be appointed by the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the basis of the relevant knowledge, credentials, experience and background in civil and criminal litigation, and experience in administrative and management functions of law enforcement. Most importantly, no elected officials will be appointed to the commission and the commission will report back its findings and recommendations to Congress in a timely fashion. In addition, the bill would authorize $3 million for FY 2000 which would be distributed among New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
Since the February 4th fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, in my congressional district, I have persuaded the Justice Department and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to investigate the New York Police Department's abuse of power. That shooting outraged everyone throughout the country, not just people of color. Since the death of Mr. Diallo, New York and other communities have been at the forefront of figuring out what is wrong with our society today that leads these things to happen. However, as tensions boiled over in the Bronx and throughout New York City, over 1200 people were arrested for symbolically blocking the entrance of Police Headquarters during daily exercises of civil disobedience, organized by Rev. Al Sharpton. I, along with other political leaders, businessmen and citizens, was handcuffed and kept in police custody for more than six hours. While no criminal charges were filed against me, I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, that being arrested was no fun. However, I considered it my duty to stand with the people of New York City who have been the targets of bad policing.
I think it is too simple to blame this problem on racism alone. The problem is that police departments across the nation must do a better job of recruiting, teaching use-of-force policies and selecting assignments for officers. Many officers lack the skills and training to deal effectively with people of other cultures. However, the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999'' is a great way to jump start training and recruitment changes and could prompt more far-reaching legislative changes.
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Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Serrano. Mr. Meeks.
STATEMENT OF HON. GREGORY MEEKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. MEEKS. Good morning, and thank you, Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers, and all the distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today before you regarding H.R. 1659 which begins to address an issue that has been of great concern to me, the issue of police brutality.
As co-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus' Task Force on Police Brutality, I sat and listened this past Monday to heart-wrenching testimony from victims and the families of victims of police brutality. The stories of individuals like Saiko Diallo, father of Amadou Diallo; Dorothy Elliott, mother of Archie Elliott; Emu Getachew, sister of Anteneh Getachew, and Herlema Owens was enough to invoke both anger and sadness from committee and audience members alike. A Nation that prides itself on being the bastion of freedom, human rights, and individual liberty should never stand for allowing those hired to protect and serve the public to violate even the smallest constitutional or civil rights of that Nation's residents and certainly not tolerate the murdering of those residents.
Just as it did in the 1960's, it is time for Congress to take legislative steps to eradicate police brutality at the local and national level and protect the civil rights of all of American citizens and non-citizens. The Serrano-Hyde bill, otherwise known as the National Police Training Commission Act of 1999, seeks to take a step in the right direction by establishing a bipartisan commission that will attempt to determine the causes of police brutality by studying the adequacy of police recruitment and training policies.
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Through this legislation, the leadership of the Senate and of the House of Representatives will appoint a five-member commission based on their relevant backgrounds, credentials, and experience in areas, such as criminal and civil litigation, administrative and management functions of law enforcement, and community relations. The commission will be charged with conducting a study of the effectiveness of training, recruiting, hiring, oversight and funding policies, and practices in law enforcement. The commission's study of these various areas will include, but not be limited to, the evaluation of training and the use of force, handcuffing, defense tactics, verbal communication, and community relations. The commission will also look at standards for hiring based on educational and psychological backgrounds, diversity, and a length of probation among other issues. One hundred and eighty days after its formation, the commission will report back to Congress with its findings and recommendations.
As stated earlier, I believe the Serrano-Hyde bill is a stepmaybe a first stepin developing critical legislation to address the very serious problems of police brutality, and I applaud you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Serrano for this initiative. However, the causes and actions of police brutality are varied, and the results are devastating to the victims, most of whom tend to be members of minority communities. Congress must take this opportunity to develop comprehensive legislation that will have the teeth to effectively address and minimize, if not eliminate, an issue that threatens to ruin the fabric of American civil society.
As the issue of police brutality has been brought to the forefront of American society, various legislative solutions have been put forth by elected officials and civil rights organizations that will create the legal tools required to arrest a problem that has plagued us since the inception of this Nation.
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In order to make H.R. 1659 a truly effective piece of legislation, and as a result of hearing the testimony that the Congressional Black Caucus conducted this past Monday and as well as the State of New York being the Chair of the Council of Black Elected Democrats, I recommend that the following be amended to this bill: the Traffic Stops Statistics Act of 1999, also known as the ''driving while black or brown'' bill, this bill would require that the Attorney General conduct a nationwide study of stops for traffic violations for law enforcement officers. As part of that study, data would have to be collected on the alleged traffic violation that led to the stopdriver characteristics, such as race, gender, ethnicity, and age; whether immigration status was questioned, and any police action that was taken. This legislation would help the Department of Justice determine whether racial profiling has been instituted by officers in determining which drivers to stop.
This Congress must adequately fund the Department of Justice to carry out its current investigations of patterns and practices of values of local law enforcement agencies, including New York City, to determine if local departments are regularly depriving individuals of their civil rights. If it is determined that a local law enforcement agency has engaged in a consistent pattern of depriving individuals of their civil rights, the Department of Justice can enter into a consent decree. However, to date, the Justice Department has used its authority under the 1994 crime bill to enter into a consent decree with only two municipalities. The underlying reasoning is the lack of funding. A stronger funding commitment by Congress will equip the Department of Justice with the resources necessary to fulfill the intent of Congress when it passed the 1994 crime bill.
Third, elimination of any judicial impediments that officers may seek after being involved in questionable shootings or other violent acts. An example of such judicial impediment is the 48-hour rule in New York City. Under this rule, officers have 48 hours to conspire or concoct a story before being questioned by the appropriate authorities. This is not a right that is afforded to the general public. Practices such as the 48-hour rule are further compounded by the notorious blue wall of silence which encourages officers to cover up the misdeeds of their colleagues. We would consider such collusion among the general public to be aiding and abetting or an accessory to criminal activity.
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Four, civilians that have complaints about police actions must have an independent civilian review board to which they can address their grievances. This board must be financially and managerially independent of the police department as it has the power to subpoena for investigations.
Lastly, this Federal Government provides billions of dollars to local police departments to enhance their law enforcement efforts. It is the policy of the United States not to provide aid to foreign law enforcement agencies that engage in human rights violations. For the United States to claim this high moral ground, we must at least hold ourselves to our own standards. Local law enforcement agencies that have been determined to have a pattern of civil rights violations must have their Federal funds eliminated completely until they can demonstrate equal treatment under the law for the public they serve.
If these recommendations are incorporated in the Serrano-Hyde bill, this Congress can develop a comprehensive piece of effective legislation comparable to the crime bill of 1994. Make no mistake that what we are fighting here is crime; crime of the most serious nature, because it is being committed by those who have been entrusted and empowered to protect public safety. If we, as Members of Congress, the highest level of Government in this land, allow this criminal behavior to go unchecked, we will be responsible for the continuing of a rapidly diminishing public trust in our law enforcement and elected officials. When this happens, we will truly come to understand the meaning of ''no justice, no peace.''
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Meeks follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. GREGORY MEEKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Good morning Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers and all the distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today regarding H.R. 1659 which begins to address an issue that has been of great concern to me; the issue of police brutality. As co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force on Police Brutality, I sat and listened this past Monday to heart wrenching testimony from victims and the families of victims of police brutality. The stories of individuals like Saiko Diallo, father of Amadou Diallo; Dorothy Elliot, mother of Archie Elliot; Emu Getachew, sister of Anteneh Getachew; and Herlema Owens was enough to invoke both anger and sadness from committee and audience members alike. A nation that prides itself on being the bastion of freedom, human rights and individual liberty should never stand for allowing those hired to protect and serve the public to violate even the smallest constitutional or civil rights of that nations' residents, and certainly not tolerate the murdering of those residents. Just as it did in the 1960s, it is time for Congress to take legislative steps to eradicate police brutality at the local and national level and protect the civil rights of all of America's residents; citizens and non-citizens.
The Serrano-Hyde bill, otherwise known as the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999'' seeks to take a step in the right direction by establishing a bipartisan commission that will attempt to determine the causes of police brutality by studying the adequacy of police recruitment and training policies. Through this legislation the leadership of the Senate and of the House of Representatives will appoint a five member commission based on their relevant backgrounds, credentials and experience in areas such as criminal and civil litigation, administrative and management functions of law enforcement and community relations.
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The commission will be charged with conducting a study of the effectiveness of training, recruiting, hiring, oversight and funding policies and practices in law enforcement. The commissions' study of these various areas will include but not be limited to; the evaluation of training in the use of force, handcuffing, defensive tactics, verbal communication and community relations. The commission will also look at standards for hiring based on educational and psychological backgrounds, diversity, and length of probation amongst other issues. 180 days after its formation, the commission will report back to Congress with its findings and any recommendations.
As I stated earlier, I believe the Serrano-Hyde bill is the first step in developing critical legislation to address the very serious problem of police brutality and I applaud them for this initiative. However, the causes and actions of police brutality are varied and the results are devastating to the victims, most of whom tend to be members of minority communities. Congress must take this opportunity to develop comprehensive legislation that will have the teeth to effectively address and minimize, if not eliminate, an issue that threatens to rend the fabric of American civil society.
As the issue of police brutality has been brought to the forefront of American society, various legislative solutions have been put forth by elected officials and civil rights organizations that will create the legal tools required to arrest a problem that has plagued us since the inception of this nation. In order to make H.R. 1659 a truly effective piece of legislation I recommend that the following be amended to this bill:
1. The ''Traffic Stops Statistics Act of 1999'' also known as the ''driving while black bill''. This bill would require that the Attorney General conduct a nationwide study of stops for traffic violations by law enforcement officers. As a part of that study data would have to be collected on the alleged traffic violation that led to the stop, driver characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity and age, whether immigration status was questioned, and any police action that was taken. This legislation would help the Dept. of Justice determine whether racial profiling was being instituted by officers in determining which drivers to stop.
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2. This Congress must adequately fund the Department of Justice to carry out its current investigations of Patterns and Practices of various local law enforcement agencies, including New York City, to determine if local police departments are regularly depriving individuals of their civil rights. If it is determined that a local law enforcement agency has engaged in a consistent pattern of depriving individuals of their civil rights, the Department of Justice can enter into a consent decree. However to date, the Justice Department has used this authority under the 1994 Crime Bill to enter into a consent decree with two municipalities. The underlying reason is the lack of funding. A stronger funding commitment by Congress will equip the Department of Justice with the resources necessary to fulfill the intent of Congress when it passed the 1994 Crime Bill.
3. Elimination of any judicial impediments that officers may seek after being involved in questionable shootings or other violent acts. An example of such a judicial impediment is the 48 hour rule in New York City. Under this rule officers have 48 hours to conspire or concoct a story before being questioned by the appropriate authorities. This is not a right that is afforded to the general public.
4. Civilians that have complaints about police actions must have an independent civilian review board to which they can address their grievances. This board must be financially and managerially independent of the police department and should have the power to subpoena for investigation.
5. Lastly, this Federal government provides billions of dollars to local police departments to enhance their law enforcement efforts. It is the policy of the United States not to provide aid to foreign law enforcement agencies that engage in human rights violations. For the U.S. to claim this moral high ground we must at least hold ourselves to our own standards. Local law enforcement agencies that have been determined to have a pattern of civil rights violations must have their federal funds eliminated completely until they can demonstrate equal treatment under the law for the public they serve.
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If these recommendations are incorporated into the Serrano-Hyde bill, this Congress can develop a comprehensive piece of effective legislation comparable to the Crime Bill of 1994. Make no mistake, what we are fighting here is crime. Crime of the most serious nature because it is being committed by those who have been entrusted and empowered to protect public safety. If we as Members of Congress, the highest level of government in this land allow this criminal behavior to go unchecked we will be responsible for the continuing of a rapidly diminishing public trust in our law enforcement and elected officials. When this happens we will truly come to understand the meaning of ''no justice, no peace''.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Meeks. And, now, Congressman Jim Walsh.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES T. WALSH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. WALSH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Conyers, and all the members of the Judiciary Committee for allowing me to testify today.
It is a great privilege for me to testify this morning on what I consider to be one of the major issues facing our society. I will not be the most experienced person you have heard on this topic nor, perhaps, the most eloquent, but I am eager to give you my perspective, because it has been my recent, unhappy duty as the representative from Syracuse, New York, to hear both sides of a sad case in which the unnecessary death of a young man occurred while in police custody.
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In December, 1996, Jonny Gammage, Jr., a Syracuse native, was stopped by police in suburban Pittsburgh on a simple traffic violation. He was living and working in that area with his cousin Ray Seals, the pro football player. An hour after being stopped, Jonny Gammage was dead. The cause of death was asphyxiation. A description of events by police included admissions that weight was placed on the young man's body to hold him down. Was he murdered? Was there malice in the hearts and the minds of the officers? As believers in justice and faith and humanity, we may hope and pray not, but at the very least it can be said a tragedy occurred.
The local courts could not decide conclusively. One acquittal, a settled liability claim, and two mistrials later, there is confusion which leads to a sense of injustice in the Syracuse minority community and in the family of Jonny Gammage, Jr.
I would like to say at this point that the mother and father of Jonny Gammage are people I have grown to respect tremendously for their restraint. Their desire is to have something good come out of this awful event which has shattered their lives. It has been said that a parent's worst pain comes from the death of a child. If that is true, is there a parent in this room who doesn't mourn for those who have lost a child to a violent death and at the hands of authority, even if by accident?
In this instance, though, they have followed the case closely and stated an intention to investigate once the local prosecution was completed, but the Justice Department has decided that it will not proceed on a civil rights case. The Gammage family heard about his decision on the radio when an announcement was made in Pittsburgh. An attempt was made to contact them, I was told, but, clearly, the priority was not on comforting the family but putting the case behind us.
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In the hope of resolving some of the questions they have, I have discussed this case with the head of the Civil Rights Division the possibility of having him come to Syracuse to meet with the Gammage family and to give his reasoning for not prosecuting this civil rights case.
My interest is in helping my constituents however I can, but I have another motivation: I want the Federal Government to provide protection however it can and to aid in the solution of this terrible dilemma that we facepart of our population not trusting the police. Further, I have spoken with Jim Clayburn of the Black Caucus and others about legislation which would make Federal prosecution more tenable in such cases. I do not want to get into those details now. My time is short, and your hearing today is focused on a very important facet of this social dilemma, and I want to stay on that focus.
I said I have spoken to both sides. While I have not spoken to the police officers involved in the Gammage case, I have spoken to my constituents who are police officers. They express well the credible concerns of people in their profession, and we should not forget that law enforcement is a profession, every bit as deserving of continuing education as any other.
The officers I have spoken with do not dismiss the death of Jonny Gammage. They do not know what happened that night, but they do not attempt to defend the actions of fellow police officers who have been proven in the past to have committed instances of brutality. They do, however, remind me, just as it is bad to stereotype and generalize in matters of race, so too is it wrong to judge all law enforcement officers by the illegal or ignorant actions of a small percentage.
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Mr. Chairman and Mr. Serrano, I commend you today for your legislation and for this hearing. You have not set out to answer questions ''Who will we make pay for the crimes or even accidents?'' Rather you have set out to answer ''How will we solve the problem?'' The courts are structured to address the first question; it is far more nettlesome and requiring far more creativity to address the second.
I see our path to solving this problem clearly. We cannot legislate respect or tolerance, and we can do more than pass laws that protect American citizens. We can provide trainingcomprehensive and specialty training in many areas of police science. We can enable law enforcement personnel to minimize job inherent risks to themselves and to their fellow citizens, and we must not limit training to crowd control or incarceration techniques. We can enhance training so we get right to the root of the mistrust which hampers the relations between police and minority communities.
I could tell you many true stories today about police officers, their families, and their participation in our lives in central New York. Many in our community are civic leaders. I am sure you can relate just as many instances. These are individuals who have chosen public service just as we have. Unfortunately, for the Gammage family, such examples, although believable, hold no comfort. Their hearts ache from injustice, Mr. Chairman, and yet they are not looking for vengeance. As I said earlier, they are looking for peace that comes from knowing that other young, black men who have no need to fear the police will not fear the law; will not panic each time they see a flashing police light.
Just to emphasize the point, Mr. Chairman, while we cannot legislate judiciousness or compassion, I don't think we have to. Most law enforcement personnel pursue excellence in their careers because they already have those qualities. On the Federal level we can instead provide that the majority have tools and skills to work with.
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That is why I urge you to support H.R. 1659 as sponsored by my good friend, Joe Serrano and Chairman Hyde, and I look forward to assisting in any way that I can, and I want to thank you again for this opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Walsh follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES T. WALSH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Thank you for having me here today. It is a great privilege to testify this morning on what I consider to be one of the major issues facing our society.
I will not be the most experienced person you have ever heard on this topic, nor perhaps the most eloquent. But I am eager to give you my perspective, because it has been my recent, unhappy duty as the Representative from Syracuse, N.Y. to hear both sides of a sad case in which the unnecessary death of a young man occurred while in the custody of police.
In December, 1996, Jonny Gammage, Jr., a Syracuse native, was stopped by police in suburban Pittsburgh on a traffic violation. He was living and working in that area with his cousin, Ray Seals, the pro football player. An hour after being stopped, Jonny Gammage, Jr. was dead. Cause of death was asphyxiation.
A description of events by police included admissions that weight was placed on the young man's body to hold him down.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Was he murdered? Was there malice in the hearts and minds of the officers? As believers in justice and with faith in humanity, we may hope and pray not. But at the very least, it can be said, a tragedy occurred.
The local courts could not decide conclusively. One acquittal, a settled liability claim and two mistrials later, there, is confusion which leads to a sense of injustice in the Syracuse minority community . . . and in the family of Jonny Gammage, Jr.
I would like to say at this point that the mother and father of Jonny Gammage are people I have grown to respect tremendously for their restraint . . . their desire to have something good come out of this awful event which has shattered their lives.
It has been said that a parent's worst pain comes from the death of a child. If that is true, is there a parent in this room who doesn't mourn for those who have lost a child to a violent deathand at the hands of authority, even if by accident.?
In this case, though they have followed the case closely and stated an intention to investigate once the local prosecution was completed and the Justice Department has decided it will not proceed.
The Gammage family heard about this decision on the radio when an announcement was made in Pittsburgh. An attempt was made to contact them, I was told, but clearly the priority was not on comforting the family but putting this case behind us.
In the hope of resolving some of the questions they have, I have discussed with the head of the Civil Rights Division the possibility of him coming to Syracuse to meet with the Gammages . . . and to give his reasoning for not prosecuting this case.
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My interest is in helping my constituents however I can . . . but I have another motivation. I want the federal government to provide protection . . . however it can . . . and to aid in the solution of this terrible dilemma we facepart of our population not trusting the police.
Further, I have spoken with Members of the Black Caucus and others about legislation which would make federal prosecution more tenable in such cases.
I do not want to get into those details now. My time is short and your hearing today is focused on a very important facet of this social dilemma, and I want to stay on that focus.
I said I have spoken to both, sides. While I have not spoken to the police officers involved in the Gammage case, I have spoken to my constituents who are police, officers. They express well the credible concerns of people in their profession.
And we should not forget that law enforcement is a professionevery bit as deserving of continuing education as any other. The officers I have spoken with do not dismiss the death of Jonny Gammage. They do not know what happened that night, but they do not attempt to defend the actions of fellow police officers who have been proven in the past to have committed crimes in instances of brutality.
They do, however, remind me: just as it is bad to stereotype and generalize in matters of race, so too is it wrong to judge all law enforcement officers by the illegal or ignorant actions of a small percentage.
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Mr. Chairman, I commend you for today's hearing. You have not set out to answer: Who will we make pay for crimes, or even accidents. Rather, you have set out to answer: HOW Will we solve the problem?
The courts are structured to address the first question; it is far more nettlesome and requiring far more creativity to address the second.
I see our path to solving this problem clearly. We cannot legislate respect or tolerance. And we can do more than pass laws that protect American citizens. We can provide trainingcomprehensive and speciality training in many areas of police science. We can enable law enforcement personnel to minimize job-inherent risks to themselves and their fellow citizens. And we must not limit training to crowd control and incarceration techniques.
We can enhance training so we get right to the root of the mistrust which hampers relations between police and minority communities.
I could tell you many true stories today about police officers, their families, and their participation in our lives in Central New York. Many in our community are civic leaders. I am sure you could relate just as many instances. These are individuals who have chosen public service just as we have.
Unfortunately for the Gammage family, such examples, although believable, hold no comfort. Their hearts ache from injustice, Mr. Chairman. And yet they are not looking for vengeance. As I said earlier, they are looking for peace that comes from knowing that other young black men who have no need to fear the police WILL not fear the law. WILL NOT panic each time they see a flashing police light.
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Just to emphasize a point, Mr. Chairman . . .
While we cannot legislate judiciousness or compassion, I don't think we have to. Most law enforcement personnel pursue excellence in their careers because they already have those qualities. On the federal level, we can instead provide that majority with tools and skills.
I look forward to assisting in any way I can, and I want to thank you again for this opportunity.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Congressman Walsh, and I want to thank this panel for very constructive testimony. As you know, we don't ask questions of Members of Congress, one of the few perks that we bestow on you, but we will be back to you. I am sure Mr. Conyers and I will
Mr. CONYERS. May I, Mr. Chairman, add my thanks to the witnesses, our colleagues, that are starting us off this morning.
Mr. HYDE. Indeed, so.
All right, the next panel. Deputy Chief Julius Davis grew up in Compton, California.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman?
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Mr. HYDE. Yes, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. Before you call the panel, I would like to urge that we put the last four witnessesso we won't go through two rounds of questioning, that we put all four witnesses on the second panel with the police officers, because they are due at the White House along with at least one member of the Judiciary Committee at 12:45.
Mr. HYDE. In other words, you would like panel two and panel three to be merged.
Mr. CONYERS. I think it would get us out of here in time for all of it.
Mr. HYDE. That is fine with me.
Mr. CONYERS. I thank the Chair very much.
Mr. HYDE. All right, our first witness of the second omnibus panel will be Deputy Chief Julius Davis. He grew up in Compton, California. He has a bachelor of science degree in business. Will someone escortshow the witnesses where they are to sit and get name tags up there and try to organize this? In any event, Chief Davis has a bachelor of science degree in business administration from California State University. He obtained a masters of public administration from Pepperdine University. During his more than 30 years of service to the City of Los Angeles Police Department, Chief Davis has worked a variety of assignments, including Organized Crime Intelligence Division, divisional detective, vice, and several administrative positions. He has extensive experience with discipline and personnel having been assigned to Internal Affairs Division as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and commander. He was appointed deputy chief of police in 1997, and he commands the human resources bureau which is responsible for oversight of all departmental training, personnel functions, employee relations, and risk management issues.
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Next, we will hear from Edward A. Flynn, chief of police of Arlington County, Virginia, chairman of the Police Executive Research Forum Legislative Committee. The Police Executive Research Forum is a Washington, DC-based association of progressive police professionals who are dedicated to improving policing practices. He has a masters degree in criminal justice from the City University of New York; a bachelor of arts in history from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Chief Flynn served as chief of police for Chelsea, Massachusetts, from 1993 to 1997 and in Braintree, Massachusetts, from 1988 to 1993. His career as a police officer began in 1971. He was promoted through the ranks of the Jersey City Police Department to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and inspector. In 1988, he left the Jersey City Police Department to start his career as police chief for Arlington County.
Next, we will hear from Martin L. Pfeifer. He is the elected national trustee and chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Committee. He has 24 years of law enforcement experience in a variety of patrol, investigative, and administrative positions with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police. He has been an active member and officer with the Fraternal Order of Police since 1981. Mr. Pfeifer is a trustee of the District of Columbia Retirement Board, an active and community-based organization.
Callie L Baird, the fourth of seven children, is next. She was born and raised in Indianapolis. She attended Indiana University where she received a bachelor of science degree in public administration. Ms. Baird received her law degree from Iowa College of Law and began work as an assistant public defender in Chicago, Illinois. In July 1988, Ms. Baird was appointed by the Chicago superintendent of police to head the Office of Professional Standards. As chief administrator, she is responsible for a staff of 109; 66 who are investigators assigned the task of investigating allegations of excessive force made against police officers. She also participates in community activities as a member of the Chicago Bar Association and as a mentor for low-income, inner-city students.
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Charles B. Roberts is next. He is deputy superintendent of training for the Chicago Police Department. His career with law enforcement began in 1965 with the Chicago Police Department. After a short break in service to serve in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service in Vietnam, he returned to the department in 1967 and served as a patrol officer, detective, and sergeant, earning his masters degree in 1977. In 1980, he was appointed as deputy fire commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department; served in that position until 1988 when he returned to the police department and commanded the department data system division. He worked as the assistant deputy superintendent for the Bureau of Operation Services before taking command of the training division in May, 1995. For the last 20 years, he has taught at Louis University and Northwestern University.
Next, Hiliary Shelton. She presently servesit is he, I am sorry; that is what I get for not looking up, forgive me. Hiliary Shelton serves as director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP. The Washington Bureau is the Federal Government Affairs Legislative Policy Division of the 600,000 member national civil rights organization, one of the oldest and largest civil rights organizations in the country. Prior to this position, he worked as the Federal liaison assistant director of government affairs to the United Negro College Fund in Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor of arts degree in communication and political science from the University of Missouri.
Next, Ronald E. Hampton. He retired from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department after 23 years of service as a community relations officer. He currently is the executive director of the National Black Police Association and is involved in designing and implementing community policing and problem-solving training for residents in public housing. He serves on the Federal Board of the Drug Policy Foundation's Law Enforcement Committee, the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberty Union in Washington, and is a former board member of Amnesty International.
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Gerald J. Papa is a long life resident of Brooklyn, New York, now a community activist but once a Wall Street tax lawyer. Twenty-five years ago, he founded an all-volunteer, interracial youth group called the Flames. The work of Flames in race relations has been noted in a variety of media reports on 60 minutes, NBC Nightly News, and in the New York Times. He was responsible for the day-to-day operation of Flames. Mr. Papa graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia College in 1972 and received a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1975. He worked as a Wall Street tax lawyer from 1975 to 1979 and thereafter in private practice.
Madam Diallo is the mother of Amadou Diallo who was shot and killed in New York City by four police officers. This incident has raised questions about appropriate police training. There is an ongoing civil case filed by the Diallo family and an ongoing criminal investigation. We, of course, are profoundly sorry for the loss of your son. It is a tragedy when one loses a son or a daughter, and our hearts go out to you.
That will be our final panel, and we will commence on the far left with Deputy Chief Davis.
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. Can I repeat, if we could hold our statements downwe won't be too strict but reasonably strictto 5 minutes, because we will questionthere will be questions, and your full statement will be made a part of the record.
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman?
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Mr. HYDE. Mr. Nadler.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just wanted to extend, on my behalf, a special welcome to Mr. Papa who is from my district and is a very well known and very well respected community activist in the Brooklyn part of my district, and it is good to see you again.
Mr. HYDE. Deputy Chief Davis.
STATEMENT OF JULIUS DAVIS, DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
Mr. DAVIS. Chairman Hyde
Mr. HYDE. Would you turn the mike on? There you go.
Mr. DAVIS. Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the committee, again, thank you for allowing me to appear before you on behalf of the Los Angeles Police Department. I am the commanding officer of human resources divisionbureau within the Los Angeles Police Department, and that is a bureau that has oversight of all the training and personnel issues within the Los Angeles Police Department.
Mr. HYDE. Can you pull the mike a little closer to you?
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DAVIS. How is that?
Mr. HYDE. That is fine, thank you.
Mr. DAVIS. Okay. Again, I am the commanding officer of human resources bureau within the Los Angeles Police Department, and that is the bureau that has oversight of all the training and personnel issues within the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles Police Department believes that the principles of interpersonal relationships lie at the core of police professionalism. Police professionals must recognize the powerful influence of their own attitudes in dealing with others.
As most of you know, Los Angeles is a very culturally diverse city. We have over 82 different languages spoken in our public schools. Every culture on this planet is represented in the City of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Police Department believes very strongly in training as a vehicle for change and improvement in the quality of service provided to the community. It equips officers with the tools and confidence to make sound decisions in sometimes very stressful, evolving situations and to provide the best possible service to the communities we are sworn to protect and serve.
We believe that training should be continuous and reflect the needs of the officers in a diverse and changing society. The type of training that is provided should also include input from communities. It should reflect some of the culture sensitivities of the various communities that are represented in the communities that we, again, protect and serve.
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Examples of some of the training that is provided by the Los Angeles Police Department involve diversity and cultural awareness, verbal communication, arrest and control, use of force, and tactics training. Our use of force and our arrest and control training is the result of a 5-year study that involved in excess of 6,000 incidents where an arrest was made and force was used. The study focused on the types of scenarios that most likely produced use of force. Out of that study, this use of force program was developed, and at its core, it is designed to use extensive verbalization as the officer is involved in attempting to bring the suspect into control. Again, what the purpose of that is, is to minimize the potential for injury and to minimize the potential for increased force during that particular confrontation.
I think it is important to note that this use of force training is also certified by a State agency within the State of California, referred to as POST, Police Officers Standard Training. That agency sets the basic standards for what is required to be a police officer and also certifies various courses throughout the State that they consider to be worthwhile and those courses are also refunded by POST when other agencies take them. So, this particular course is one that is certified and is one that other agencies attend.
All use of force incidents within the Los Angeles Police Department are reviewed. Whether they involved deadly force or whether they involved minimal use of force, all use of force is required to be reviewed by a supervisor and where training is appropriate, training is given, and where misconduct is identified, a personnel complaint is initiated.
There is also another level of review for use of force, and it involves not only use of force but it also involves intervention in areas where we believe intervention is appropriateand, again, you have to excuse my voice; I am suffering from an attack of a cold since I got into your citybut, in any event, we have[Laughter]. In any event, we have what is referred to as a Use of Force Review Board. That board reviews all use of deadly force, force that results in serious injury to a suspect and makes recommendations to the chief of police as a result of that review. The recommendation could end in the force being considered to be out of compliance with department policy and receive the administrative disapproval or it can result in training or it can be found to be in compliance with all policies and procedures of the department.
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We also have a review of all other types of force that don't meet the standards of going to the Use of Force Review Board done at the divisional level and reviewed at what we refer to as the bureau level. The bureau level is an entity within the department that is headed by a deputy chief. That force is reviewed for the same purpose, to see whether or not the force used was in compliance with the policies and procedures of the department; whether there is any issues that need to be addressed in training, and whether there is any misconduct involved.
Beyond the training in the area of tactics and the techniques that are involved in tactics, we believe very strongly that we need input from the community as I stated earlier as we develop our training programs. We get that input from a variety of forums. One is the community forum that meets directly with the chief of police. That forum is representative of the diversity of the City of Los Angeles. All of the minority groups in addition to other groups meet separately with the chief of police on a quarterly basis, and during that meeting they have the ability to directly address the chief on the concerns of the community, and there is a great deal of an exchange that takes place in that sitting. It also educates the community in some regard as to the policies and procedures of the Los Angeles Police Department, so a great deal is accomplished through that.
We have what is referred to as Community Police Advisory Boards at the local level where a captain heads a station and meets with representatives of the community. Those representatives have the same access to that captain as the community forums have to the chief of police. They have direct contact with that captain. They also are involved in addressing community problems, problem solving. We think that process really creates a bond between the police and the community, and it also strengthens their understanding of what our role is.
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Civilian academies is an academy for civilians within the City of Los Angeles in which the procedures and policies of the Los Angeles Police Department are taught; use of force is discussed and taught, and, again, it provides the kind of forum in which the community can understand what our role is.
Mr. HYDE. Could you bring your remarks to a close?
Mr. DAVIS. Oh, I am sorry.
Mr. HYDE. That is all right.
Mr. DAVIS. Finally, I would just like to point out that there is agiven the diversity we have and given the number of languages that are spoken in the City of Los Angeles, we have a program that we feel that is unlike any other in the Nation in which we provide 200 scholarships to police officers to attend local colleges, in order for them to study other languages, in order to make them more effective. We also have the Bilingual Program in which we pay officers for speaking another language.
I have many other things that we do, and, again, I recognize time, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak before you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Davis follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JULIUS DAVIS, DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
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Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers, and Members of the Committee, my name is Julius I. Davis and I am the Commanding Officer of the Human Resources Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). I am here today at the Committee's request to discuss LAPD's approach to promoting effective law enforcement and community relations training.
The principles of interpersonal relationships lie at the core of police professionalism. Police Professionals must recognize the powerful influence of their own attitudes in dealing with others. We must be skilled in adjusting and modifying those attitudes not only for our own well being but to provide a better service to the thousands of people we encounter in our professional lives. Police must be masters of their own behavior, directing it skillfully to bring order out of chaos, calm out of conflict.
Police professionals must show courtesy without weakness, compassion without distress, and self-esteem without arrogance. We live in a world of stereotypes, but we cannot allow stereotypes to dominate the course of action.
Los Angeles is a culturally diverse city. Its inhabitants represent nearly every culture, every language, every nationality, and every race on the planet. Children attending Los Angeles City schools speak over 82 different languages. The role of the police professional is to prevent the richness of diversity from becoming the poverty of crime and civil conflict.
To do this, police professionals must know themselves. We must have no doubt about where we stand in defense of fundamental human rights. We must stand firm, yet, we must be exceedingly flexible, choosing constantly among the many tactical options available for defending human rights. We must be ever aware that in defending those rights, we run the risk of violating them ourselves. This is the fundamental dilemma of police the world over. Solving this dilemma is the most demanding requirement of police service and it is one of the reasons the Committee is reviewing this issue today.
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First, the LAPD is absolutely committed to oversight of its personnel. Ninety percent of the Department's annual budget is spent on personnel. We view personnel hiring, initial training, on-going training, and continuing officer accountability as vital to the direct operations of the LAPD and specifically of its management. All of these elements of personnel management are guided by an overriding philosophy of Community Oriented Policing.
I would like to give you a very brief overview of some of the programs the Los Angeles Police Department has developed and implemented to promote effective law enforcement and effective community relations.
COMMUNITY ACCESS TO THE POLICE
The Los Angeles Police Department coordinates quarterly meetings between the Chief of Police and various community forums such as, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, African-American, Gay and Lesbian, Youth, and Clergy groups citywide. The forums serve as a vehicle to enhance the lines of communication between the Department and the diversified communities within the City of Los Angeles. Not only do the forums allow community members to express their concerns directly to the Chief of Police, but they give the Department the opportunity to disseminate factual information about topical issues facing the Department and the City.
Community-Police Advisory Boards
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Eighteen Community-Police Advisory Boards (CPAB), comprised of community members of each geographic Area, have been fully functional since early 1994. Each CPAB meets on a regular basis with the commanding officer of their geographic Area, thereby allowing the commanding officer the opportunity to obtain input from and work with the community. Through this process, communities from all areas of the City have open lines of communication with the Department.
At an annual ''CPAB Summit'', all 18 CPABs, community members, elected and appointed officials, and personnel from all levels of the Department gather to share success stories and receive additional training. At the summit, the lines of communication are opened between the different communities. The Fourth Annual CPAB Summit was held last year on March 21, 1998 and was attended by over 800 community members, Department personnel, and elected and appointed officials. The event exceeded even the most optimistic estimates for success. The Fifth Annual CPAB Summit is scheduled for June 5, 1999.
Community Relations Section
Team members from the Community Relations Section maintain contact with community-based organizations, leaders, spokespersons, and other sources to develop and keep open lines of communication between the Chief of Police and those groups or individuals. The Community Relations Section maintains a constant interchange of communication with the public in order to monitor emerging trends or tensions and take positive action to avert situations that could be damaging to the city, community, or the Department. Its purpose is to foster mutual trust and respect between the Department and the community and gain feedback regarding Department effectiveness.
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Community Police Academy
The Department's four geographic bureaus have been conducting the Community Police Academy since 1995. The 10-week course was designed to educate groups of interested community members on Department operations. Among the topics covered are: the objectives of Community Policing; criminal law; narcotics enforcement; vice operations; juvenile services; and pursuit, use of force, and shooting policies. This Academy is part of an ongoing effort to work in partnership with the business and residential communities of the City of Los Angeles. To date, approximately 1, 749 community leaders and members have graduated from the Community Police Academy, 392 of which attended courses conducted in Spanish. During 1998, approximately 279 community members graduated and about 92 of those graduates attended the course in Spanish. Also during 1998, LAPD completed its first Community Police Academy for young adults, with 22 high school students graduating.
LAPD Launches: LAPDOnline
On August 18, 1998, the Los Angeles Police Department officially launched the Department's new Internet WEB Site, LAPD Online. The Web site is comprised of over 2,200 pages of information and nearly 9,000 individual text, photo, sound, and video files, and apparently is the largest police department Web site in the world. The LAPD Web site allows the public easy access to LAPD crime statistics, which can be broken down by their communities or viewed citywide. Residents can easily identify the commanding officer and community liaison officer for each police station. The LAPD Web site provides increased public access to share comments or to file a complaint. Additionally, hundreds of the most frequently asked questions by the public have been fully researched and answered online in a completely searchable format. LAPD Online is linked to more than 100 other Internet sites, including law enforcement agencies, criminal justice research organizations, community groups and television programs that feature the LAPD.
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HIRING: STRATEGIC PLAN FOR POLICE RECRUITMENT
The Employee Opportunity and Development Division is responsible for developing our human resources through objectivity and fairness in personnel practices while developing a workforce that is representative of the diverse community that we serve.
The Strategic Plan for Police Recruitment includes priorities that place emphasis on the recruitment of quality candidates from a diverse pool of candidates and the corresponding Operational Plan does its outreach at college events, cultural events, career fairs and other events which represent a wide variety of community groups. On an annual basis recruitment officers attend 500 high schools, colleges, military bases, career fairs, and community events. It is the City's and Department's goal to employ a highly qualified diverse workforce representative of the community served by continually evaluating our efforts and redistributing resources.
TRAINING: EFFECTIVE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE POLICE AND THE COMMUNITY
Institutionalizing Community Policing
Community Policing cannot be a program run by a few people out of a few field offices. It must permeate the entire organization. Everyone in the organization must embrace and exhibit community-policing behaviors in their daily work.
Los Angeles Police Officers of all ranks have been attending Community-Police Problem Solving training since October 1995. Community-Police Problem Solving training is part of the nationally recognized Problem Oriented Policing program using techniques built on the Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (SARA) model of problem solving. As of April 1998, the Department has trained 9,971 personnel of all ranks. The Academy is currently teaching Community-Police Problem Solving to recruits as part of its curriculum.
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Cultural Diversity Training
The Los Angeles community is represented by many of the world's cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious groups. The Los Angeles Unified School District reports there are over 82 different primary languages spoken in the homes of our school children. The LAPD increasingly reflects this same diversity. To ensure the best possible relations with community members and co-workers, all Department employees are required to attend cultural diversity training. The training identifies groups living in the Los Angeles area and includes instruction in elements of culture, biases, stereotypes, dynamics of change, and communication. Presented in the adult learning format, the classes use real-life experiences, personal experiences, and open discussions so employees get a full understanding of these issues. Currently 9,971 personnel of all ranks have received this training.
Integration of Human Relations Skills with Physical Tactics
Over the past seven years, the Los Angeles Police Department has designed and implemented several training programs, which integrate human relations subjects with traditional police science tactics. The primary training initiative was to focus on integrating all the tools within a multitude of police disciplines to decrease situations of excessive force, unnecessarily dangerous vehicle pursuits, and disrespectful interactions with the community.
One example of this model from the recruit training program consists of three two hour blocks of instruction conducted over a three day period with instructional staff from tactics, human relations, and Spanish. Using a series of simulations involving vandalism, gang violence, crowd control, family dispute, and assault with a deadly weapon, the recruit trainee demonstrates a succession of more difficult and complex verbal and manipulation skills including speaking in a foreign language. The consistent theme from an instructional perspective is observing use of force continuum and the ability to de-escalate the situations through verbalization techniques. Immediate debriefs with trainers consists of participants conducting their own evaluation, followed by feedback from classmates and senior trainers in order to integrate and reinforce skills from various disciplines, self-correction, and develop self-awareness during stressful encounters.
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Another training program also used research based field data and multi-disciplinary experts to retool the existing self-defense program. The current arrest and control course for recruit and in-service participants consists of an integrated curriculum approach. The remaining practical application exercises, which comprise approximately 90% of the course, continue to require participants to demonstrate verbalization skills while applying physical techniques. All participants must pass a practical application test in which integration of verbal and physical skills is scored for competence.
Arrest and Control Training
The Arrest and Control Unit, Continuing Education Division, has trained over 6,000 sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department in a rigorous 40-hour course of techniques to safely subdue physically combative arrestees. This training was based on the statistical analysis of over 5,000 Use of Force Reports, which identified the most common patterns of physical resistance that officers encounter in the field. Remarkably, over 90% of these incidents were found to fit into five basic patterns. A panel of martial arts experts were recruited from the community to look at these patterns and recommend the most effective, yet safe, methods for overcoming and restraining unarmed physically combative arrestees.
After the first year of training (1996), slightly over half of the veteran officers had received the training. Over 1,100 recruit officers had received this training as part of their Basic Academy. Preliminary analysis of data (from 19901996 Quarterly Use of Force Summaries, Internal Affairs Division, and the Legal Affairs Division ''Lawsuit Chronology 19901997) revealed that in 1996 there was a 22.8 % drop in injuries to arrestees in situations where a use of force occurred and an 8.5% drop in Excessive Force Complaints, as well as a 10.2% drop in civil actions filed against the Police Department. Even the ratio of Arrests to Uses of Force dropped in 1996. Between 1990 and 1995, 1.14% of arrests resulted in a reportable use of force; in 1996 only 0.92% arrests resulted in a reportable use of force. All these reductions were compared to the previous six-year period, 1990 through 1995, for each of these factors.
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Many other variables have obviously impacted these reductions along with the Arrest and Control training. Variables such as the availability of O.C. Spray, the ASP Baton, as well as mandated courses on Cultural Sensitivity, Verbal Judo, etc. also deserve credit. However, all of these other variables were in place prior to 1996. Arrest and Control training began in that year and 1996 is the year that the most significant drops in the aforementioned factors (excessive force complaints, arrestee injuries, etc.) occurred.
Ombuds Office: Alternative Dispute Resolution Program
The Chief of Police recognized the need to assign a high-ranking officer within the Office of the Chief of Police to serve as his personal contact to employees experiencing difficulties due to conflict issues. In August of 1997, the position of Ombudsofficer was created. The Ombudsofficer and staff constitute the Ombuds Office and are responsible for administering the Department's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program.
The Ombuds Office maintains liaison with Department entities to promote communication and develop innovative dispute resolution strategies with Internal Affairs Group, Employee Relations Group, Personnel Division, Legal Affairs Section, Employee Opportunity and Development Division, Police Commission Discrimination Unit, and the Inspector General.
The Ombuds Office is committed to creating a positive working environment that focuses on developing and improving internal partnerships among all Department personnel. This is accomplished by providing a fair and impartial third party neutral review process with the purpose of resolving internal conflicts and mediating disputes in the workplace.
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It is essential that public confidence be maintained in the ability of the Department to investigate and properly adjudicate complaints against its members. Additionally, the Department has the responsibility to seek out and discipline those officers whose conduct discredits the Department or impairs its effective operation. The rights of the employee as well as those of the public must be preserved, and any investigation or hearing arising from a complaint must be conducted in an open fair manner with the truth as its objective. The Department accepts complaints against its members and fully investigates all such complaints to the appropriate disposition.
The Department advocates the use of positive discipline to gain employees' compliance to policies, procedures, and daily tasks. Supervisors and managers are encouraged to lead through inspiration, explanation, and encouragement. When employees fail to respond to positive discipline, they are subject to negative discipline such as a warning, admonishment, official reprimand, suspension, reduction in rank, or termination. Discipline may be administered after weighing the severity of the misconduct with the employee's complaint history, work performance, and attitude. The impact of the misconduct on the public, fellow employees, and the Department must also be considered.
PERSONNEL COMPLAINT SUMMARY
New Complaint Form For 1998
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The LAPD has recently reexamined the Personnel complaint procedure that has been in place for many years and has made some modifications, in an effort to be more responsive to the concerns of the community. Previously, allegations of misconduct were investigated using a Personnel Complaint Form 1.81. Using this format, an Internal Affairs number was assigned, which facilitated tracking. However, this system did not provide for other mechanisms to document allegations not amounting to misconduct. As such, there were a number of situations in which concerns were properly addressed, but were not readily retrievable when a civil case arose two or three years later.
On January 1, 1998, the LAPD began recording complaints of any type on a new multi-purpose form which allows for improved tracking and facilitates the retrieval of information, as well as the analysis of patterns of behavior, via the Training, Evaluation And Management Systems (TEAMS). This analysis allows for early intervention for potential problems, which may be handled early on as a counseling or a training issue, rather than waiting and having discipline be the only available option. However, as has always been the Department's policy, credible patterns of misconduct and/or sustained complaints(s) in relevant categories will factor into the selection process for coveted assignments, advancement, and personnel evaluations.
Summary of Personnel Complaints
Due to the new 1998 complaint reporting procedures, there were a total of 5,339 complaints initiated in 1998 compared with 1,912 complaints in 1997. This represents a 179 percent increase thus emphasizing the Department's view that officer accountability is vital to the direct operations of the LAPD and service to the community. In 1996, there were 1,706 complaints, which is a 12 percent increase when compared to 1997.
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Risk Management Program
Risk Management is the identification and prevention or reduction of predictable losses to the organization. In practice, risk management is a systematic proactive approach to pre-incident reduction or adverse consequences associated with organizational operations. These consequences usually fall within one or more of the following five categories:
Injury or death to members of the community.
Misconduct of personnel.
Systemic issues affecting the Department.
Organization environment including employee interpersonal and communications skills.
In the particular context of the LAPD, Risk management is expanded to include the identification of at-risk behavior by officers through bureau auditing, analyzing and tracking the following separate areas of performance.
1) Use of Force
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b) Law Enforcement Related Injury
c) Lethal, non-lethal, and less than lethal
d) All others
3) Civil Litigation, Including but not limited to employment litigation involving claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation.
4) Claims for damages
5) Traffic collisions
6) Sick/Injury on Duty history
The Human Resources Bureau has been reorganized so that all of the Department's personnel functions are unified under one command which includes the areas of employee relations, behavioral science, training, personnel management, and equal employment opportunity.
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The Commanding Officer of the Human Resources Bureau is designated as the chairperson of the Department's Risk Management Committee, which is comprised of the Department's Chief Officers and Commanders assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police. The committee convenes as necessary to provide oversight of the Department's risk management efforts, including the above-referenced areas of performance, but may also include any employee function such as arrests and seizures, personnel evaluations and training.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to testify before you today.
Mr. HYDE. Well, I thank you, chief. We will study your full statement, because you obviously speak from great knowledge and authority, and your input will be most welcome, and there may well be questions.
STATEMENT OF EDWARD A. FLYNN, CHIEF OF POLICE, ARLINGTON COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM, CHAIRMAN OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
Mr. FLYNN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. I believe that the committee's efforts to bring people directly affected by police oversight, training, recruiting, hiring, and policymaking reflects your desire to support police efforts to better respond to our communities.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I speak to you today on behalf of the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF, an organization of progressive police professionals who are dedicated to improving policing practices through research, experimentation, and national debate. I am the chairperson of PERF's legislative committee and appreciate your taking into consideration the views of the medium and large city police chiefs who compose PERF's general membership.
I have spent more than 25 years in the police profession in five cities, in various positions from patrol officer to chief. In each community, police have the same concerns: how to balance pressure to be tough on crime while respecting democratic principles? I believe we can do both. Community policing strategies employing problem-solving tactics have helped reduce crime and reduce the level of fear in neighborhoods of every kind. Community policing strategies have encouraged the development of partnerships between the police and the public, improving communications and reducing tensions.
Do we still have concerns about police use of excessive force? Of course we do. And even though use of force complaints are down in many jurisdictions, we need to constantly seek improvements in the recruitment, training, promotion, and evaluation policies of our police departments. However, we must avoid the tendency to view use of force issues in isolation. I urge the committee to make certain that an oversight commission view police use of force in the context of a police agency's overall policing strategy.
Police strategies do not occur in a vacuum. The political environment has a profound impact on the choice of strategies and the use of tactics. The words our public officials use matter. In that context, ''wars on crimes'' and ''crackdowns'' translate into aggressive police tactics. The strategy a police department chooses will be reflective of local political realities. We cannot forget that, ultimately, police need the community's permission to be effective. Our poorest, most vulnerable neighborhood will not support strategies that treat them as the enemy even if those strategies make them safer. The means used to accomplish crime reduction are as important as the results themselves.
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Police policymakers have learned the importance of the fear issue separate from the crime issue and developed both fear and crime reduction strategies. Similarly, despite our belief that police abuses have declined, we must respond to public perception and treat it seriously or we risk public support where it is most needed, in our vulnerable communities.
I know you agree that the vast majority of police in this Nation are dedicated, brave, caring, men and women who are committed to community service with honor. It is our responsibility to provide them with the support, training, and organizational structures that will help them fulfill their oaths of office.
PERF has long engaged in research and dialogue aimed to further these efforts. PERF recently convened a meeting of 20 police chiefs and local community leaders from their cities to look at the issues that threaten the bond of trust that we must have. We left this meeting having voiced our commitment to do all we can to strengthen community partnerships by taking a hard look at our recruitment, hiring, training, and oversight practices. We have long been especially committed to improving police-minority relations and are currently working on several projects and proposals to improve police practices.
As a research organization, we support those who want to help us improve the way we do our jobs.
While we applaud bill sponsors, Congressman Hyde and Congressman Serrano, for their desire to improve police practices, we have several concerns about the bill as drafted. They include the following
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Mr. GEKAS [presiding]. Would the gentleman bring the testimony to an end?
Mr. FLYNN. Certainly. We are concerned about how the commission will actually conduct its study and what standards will be used to evaluate success; we are concerned about the time allotted and whether that is sufficient to reach the conclusions hoped for; we are concerned that the proposed sites are very limited as they are all similar in so far as they are all large citiesthe applicability of findings there may be limited; we are also concerned that when the commission studies police accountability systems, it must include an analysis of how civil service appeals boards, binding arbitration laws, collective bargaining agreements, and police officers bill of rights legislation have impacted citizen complaint procedures and the ability of chief police executives to discipline officers.
While public and political pressure on police chiefs increases to do something about perceived abuses, few understand the systematic impediments to fixing accountability. These concerns notwithstanding, PERF welcomes any such police oversight commission and invites them to join us in the furtherance of our mission of improving the way police work is done in our community.
The American century ends as it began with our metropolitan areas teaming with people from many lands. They come here for the same reasons they always have: for economic opportunity and for freedom. The role of America's police in facilitating the continued diversification of our society is underappreciated but essential and will continue to grow in importance. No other institution of government has improved as much in as short of a span of time as have the police, but as long as there are communities afflicted by crime but distrustful of their police, we still have work to do.
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We welcome the committee's interest in and attention to this issue.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Flynn follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF EDWARD A. FLYNN, CHIEF OF POLICE, ARLINGTON COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE EXECUTIVE RESEARCH FORUM, CHAIRMAN OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you. I see that a number of other law enforcement organizations and community leaders have been invited to testify before you today. I believe the Committee's efforts to bring together representatives from policing and other fields directly affected by police oversight, training, recruiting, hiring and policy making reflects your desire to formulate fair and responsive support for law enforcement's efforts to better serve our communities. There is great value in having these issues in the national spotlight for study and debate.
I speak to you today on behalf of the members of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), an organization of progressive police professionals who are dedicated to improving policing practices through research, experimentation and national debate. I am the chairperson of PERF's legislative committee and appreciate your taking into consideration the views of the medium- and large-city police chiefs who compose PERF's general membership. In fact, all of the chief executives from the currently proposed sites for initial study by the CommissionWashington, D.C.; New York City; Los Angeles; and Chicagoare PERF members. I know they welcome the federal government's funding support for increased training and improved methods for hiring, recruiting and overseeing officers that will ensure that we serve our communities fairly, honestly and effectively.
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I have spent more than 25 years in law enforcement, in five cities, in various positions from patrol officer to chief. In each community, police have the same concerns: how to balance police tactics to be ''tough on crime'' while respecting the democratic principles that ensure humane, fair and effective treatment of all citizens. I believe we can do both. Community policing efforts have brought us closer to ensuring that the communities we serve know their police officers, can communicate with police better, and can have the underlying causes of crime problems addressed.
Do we still have concerns about police use of excessive force? Of course we do. While use-of-force complaints are down in many jurisdictions, we need to do better jobs of recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and evaluating police. We need to increase even further our efforts to include the community, rank-and-file officers, trainers and other affected parties in how we address use of force and other related issues.
There is a tendency to view use-of-force issues in isolation, however. We would encourage this Committee to make certain that any oversight commission view police use of force in the context of the police agencies' overall policing strategies. Policing strategies don't occur in a vacuum. The political environment has a profound impact on choice of strategies and use of tactics. The words our public officials use matter. In that context, ''wars on crime'' and ''crackdowns'' translate into aggressive police tactics. The strategy a police department chooses will be reflective of local political realities. Whether a police department chooses a crime-attack, problem-oriented policing, or community policing strategy will determine what tools the police have and how they use them. We can not forget that, ultimately, police need the community's permission to be effective. Our poorest, most vulnerable neighborhoods will not support strategies that treat them as the enemy, even if those strategies make them safer.
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I think you will agree that the vast majority of police in this nation are hardworking, caring, brave men and women who are dedicated to community policing strategies, diversity and fair treatment of all citizens. We simply need to provide them with greater support, training and organizational structure that will help them do the job they are so capable of performing, while reducing obstacles to identifying and disciplining the small number of officers who produce most of the problems.
To that end, PERF recently held an initial working group with police chiefs and their community leaders from 20 cities including Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, New York City, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Boston to discuss the impact of crime reduction strategies on our communitiesparticularly our minority communities. I attended that meeting, and the candid responses from participants made it clear that the only way we are going to build and repair mutual trust between police and the citizens they serve is to ensure that the community is part of the process and that communications are dramatically improved. I have appended my comments with the statement made by PERF President and Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier on what PERF is committed to doing to address our communities' fear and distrust in ways that will make them want to support enforcement efforts and to minimize the impact of our tactics on law-abiding citizensparticularly in our minority communities. Some of the conclusions from that meeting include the recognition that simply reducing our nation's crime rate cannot be the only barometer of police success. The means used to accomplish crime reduction must be as important as the results themselves. The success of crime reduction is diminished if community trust declines as well. Crime reduction strategies must be consistent with democratic principles. The two are not mutually exclusive. The end does not justify the means. Participants agreed we must invest in their communities, not only with money but also with our hearts and minds. Police departments must create an equitable internal environment free from discrimination. This will attract a diverse group of officers who will become part of the social fabric of America's communities. PERF and other attendees voiced their commitment to ''doing all we can to strengthen community partnerships; to take a hard look at our recruitment, hiring, training and oversight practices. PERF's members and our community partners believe respect for individuals' rights and the highest standards of ethics and integrity are essential to effective policing.'' Other actions PERF will take in response to this meeting include the following:
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PERF pledged to develop national best-practice standards for traffic stops, based on significant input from police departments and community members, and plans to involve rank-and-file and other stakeholders as this and other strategies are developed to ease police-citizen tensions.
PERF urged the police and community leaders who attended this meeting, and those colleagues who could not be there, to hold similar forums in their own communities. Some of these meetings have already been convened, as Commissioner Evans in Boston has done, or are planned.
PERF has long been committed to improving police/minority relations and is currently working on several projects and proposals to enhance police policies, procedures, practices and training. PERF is committed to identifying and disseminating information on best practices and current programs.
As a research organization, we support the examination of police programs, practices, policies and procedures to improve the way we do our jobs. While we applaud bill sponsors Congressman Hyde and Congressman Serrano for their desire to improve training, recruiting, hiring, oversight and other police practices, we have several concerns about the bill as drafted. They include the following:
SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY OF THE COMMISSION'S STUDY
It is not clear from the bill how the Commission will ''study the training, recruiting, hiring, and disciplinary policies and practices in law enforcement'' (emphasis added). Will the Commission collect and analyze data? Will it interview officers, managers, command staff and chiefs? Will it conduct independent reviews of training curricula? Will it simply ensure that funds have been expended for their stated purposes and review the new programs, policies, procedures, training or other enhancements made with the funding? What criteria will it use to evaluate whether a police program, practice or training is ''successful''? The Justice Department has several funded projects on police use and misuse of force, as well as active investigations in police agencies to examine allegations of racial bias and other wrongdoing. Through its program offices, it provides technical assistance and training on community policing issues. How would the Commission build on these efforts and coordinate research? PERF has been conducting research on cutting-edge policing issues for more than 20 years. Deadly Force: What We Know, Citizen Review: A Resource Manual and other PERF publications report on the findings of methodologically sound research and data collection based on studies that are often several years in the making. While the Commission plans to call on experts in the field, our experienceand that of use-of-force researchers we contactedhas been that it is unrealistic to expect that a six-month study would yield results and training reforms that could draw on a sound and unbiased research model, with results or recommendations that would be valid for police agencies across the country.
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Some members of PERF's board and legislative committee have expressed their support for federal funding of increased training, but believe the oversight functions should be more properly conducted at the local government level where knowledge of community issues, local politics, state laws and other factors can be properly addressed. But, if the Commission were to be established as outlined in H.R. 1659, PERF would encourage the Commission to convene working groups in each of the three substantive areas of investigation to identify critical issues and then report on how each of the test sites have used their funding to enhance some of these key issues. Case studies could be compiled that other agencies might be able to draw on to tailor some of the ideas to the unique needs of their agencies. This approach would also recognize that experts chosen to study use of force, for example, may not be the same group of experts you would assemble on police accountability issues. A research team could be brought together to help develop strong, reliable study models and methods.
Each of the issues within the Commission's purview are very complex and deserve careful consideration before recommendations to or mandates on the field are made. For example, any oversight on complaint procedures regarding police officers must include, as H.R. 1659 suggests, an investigation of how Police Officer Bill of Rights legislation (POBRs), civil service appeals, binding arbitration, collective bargaining and other due-process requirements affect the ability of police chief executives to discipline officers. There is increasing pressure for police leaders to detect and discipline problem officers, but then those investigations are often thwarted by POBR and other mandates.
In determining the scope of the Commission's duties and the complexity of the tasks within the scope of their authority, one need only look at the oversight issue more closely to see how difficult it would be for such a small Commission to come up with truly useful findings in just six months, even with the help of advisors. PERF is grateful for the inclusion of language in the bill that underscores the need for any review of accountability systems to include a study of how additional due process requirements can hinder disciplinary action against the small number of problem officers who generate the majority of citizen complaints.
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PERF supports substantial due process rights for police officers, but such proposed legislation as a federal POBR, particularly in combination with state review systems, is bad policy and would be bad law. PERF members have numerous examples of how state POBRs and other measures have resulted in officers who have acted egregiously, being reinstated or their punishment reduced because of technicalities. The problem would only be exacerbated if attempts were made to apply state and local functions federally. This is simply not an appropriate federal role. Police chief executives are told to ''do something'' about police misconduct, but then are not always given the political support to do the job effectively, fairly and within reasonable due process parameters. Investigations have been thwarted by requirements that a certain amount of time must pass before questioning and/or early notice must be given to officers if the investigation is likely to result in disciplinary action, for example. When accountability systems are scrutinized to see how we can better detect or address problem officers, we must look at whether the POBR or other measure has a chilling effect on the willingness of citizens to report misconductas when a POBR requires a signed statement from a witness instead of allowing investigations to proceed on anonymous complaints. It is in the best interest of our community to let law enforcement administrators have the discretion to investigate any complaints, whether signed or unsigned, written or oral.
Police chiefs have never been under greater pressure from their communities and governing boards to deal effectively with police officer misconduct than now. The problem officer is an exception to the rule that police officers are caring, brave, talented and ethical people who want to serve their communities. These typical officers need to know that police executives will do all they can to ensure that the best image of police is portrayed to the public and that those who disgrace their position will be dealt with accordingly. The most carefully selected and best trained officers lose heart when those who betray their oath escape the consequences of their actions by manipulating the review systemand the community loses faith. Public trust, support and involvement are at risk. POBRs and other due process requirements afforded beyond those given at the state and local level can severely inhibit the ability of police managers to respond adequately to these concerns by imposing unnecessary, burdensome, and complex requirements in every instance in which the police chief deems disciplinary action is appropriate. We need to step back and evaluate how the interlocking combination of current external review systems inhibit or delay fixing accountability for police misconduct. PERF would welcome the opportunity to work with this Committee and rank-and-file representatives on police oversight issues and studies, but believes that within the context of this bill, the oversight component is ill-advised.
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IMPLEMENTATION AND SITE SELECTION
All the police executives from the proposed study sites in H.R. 1659 are PERF members, and they certainly grapple with myriad issues regarding police/minority relations, training, use of force, oversight, recruiting and hiring matters. They do not, however, reflect the needs of the many agencies with significantly fewer resources and police candidate pools. PERF would caution the use of any recommendations and findings from this limited sample to be generalized to the needs of other police jurisdictions. Every police agency has a unique political environment, community make up, resource allocation plan, disciplinary action mandates for personnel, and other factors that would make generalization inadvisable. Rather, findings that help police agencies tailor new programs, policies and procedures to the needs of their own communities would be welcome so long as police executives can determine whether and how to implement them to best address the needs of that agency. One suggestion may be to draw on the already federally funded Regional Community Policing Institutes to help assess and provide training innovations. This would ensure greater national impact, benefit and consistency with current community policing models.
COMMISSION MEMBER SELECTION
While a bipartisan effort, PERFa nonpartisan research and membership groupremains concerned that having members politically appointed may compromise their independence. To have credibility in the law enforcement field, Commission members must have expertise in the practical aspects of implementing study findings in a police agency and nationally recognized subject matter expertise in each of the study areas. That is a tall order for a five-person Commission, even with the assistance of advisors. PERF hopes that the Commission leadership would be encouraged to draw on police researchers who have a proven record of successfully addressing these issues.
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PERF is concerned about where the funding authorized by this bill would be appropriated, particularly if the number of study sites is expanded and appropriators consider an existing funding source like the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant or COPS funding. We hope that Congressman Serrano, as a bill sponsor and appropriations member, will resist any efforts by his colleagues to fund this bill from the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, COPS grants or other funding sources critical to advancing community policing and public safety. We also oppose the earmarking of BJA discretionary funds and other competitive police grant programs for this purpose.
We welcome the opportunity to work with this Committee on this and other policing matters to guarantee our citizens the highest levels of police service, professionalism and community support. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Again, thank you for taking into consideration the views of law enforcement.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS C. FRAZIER, PERF PRESIDENT AND COMMISSIONER OF THE BALTIMORE, MD, POLICE DEPARTMENT AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON FINDINGS OF BALANCING CRIME STRATEGIES AND DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, APRIL 9, 1999.
Good morning and thank you for coming.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier, President of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). PERF is a Washington, D.C.-based association of progressive police professionals who are dedicated to improving policing practices. I stand today with other PERF members and community leaders who came to Washington yesterday to discuss how police crime-fighting strategies have affected America's communities and democratic principles.
I want to thank United States Attorney General Janet Reno, and the many community leaders who shared their insights and advice with us yesterday. It was a long day of thoughtful discussion, as Justice Department and White House policymakers can attest. We came together to determine what PERF members can do as police leaders to improve relations within America's communitiesparticularly our minority communities.
We would also like to thank Honeywell, Inc. and the General Mills Foundation for their generous support of this meeting.
Racial discord remains one of the most critical issues facing our country as we approach the end of the 20th century. The events of the past several months across the nation have focused on allegations of discriminatory police stop-and-search procedures and serious questions about the use of force. PERF organized this urgent meeting to bring together a group of America's police leaders. Each chief brought community representatives from such organizations as the NAACP and the Urban League, members of their faith communities and other civic leaders to discuss the critical issues facing police professionals today.
Law enforcement and community leaders agree that simply reducing our nation's crime rate cannot be the only barometer of police success. The means used to accomplish crime reduction must be as important as the results themselves. The success of crime reduction is diminished if community trust declines as well. Crime reduction strategies must be consistent with democratic principles. The two are not mutually exclusive. The end does not justify the means.
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And we also heard from community leaders that citizens sometimes fear and distrust police officers in street-level encounters. Police leaders said their officers, too, experience fear while on the job. Just last week, officers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Pheonix, Arizona, were shot in the line of duty.
We don't want to overlook the good job America's police officers do. Our communities value police services and recognize most police officers in this country are men and women of integrity, sensitivity, courage and a strong sense of service. Our police officers have a dangerous and challenging job to do. As police leaders, we will continue to support them as they carry out their duties, but we pledge to provide the best possible guidance and direction from responsible leadership working in collaboration with the community.
As community leaders and law enforcement professionals, we will not tolerate inequity in our departments, or in the treatment of our citizens. We will not tolerate the use of excessive force or discrimination in any form.
All of uspolice and community leadersagree on certain basic principles. We agree that we must invest in our communities, not only with money but also with our hearts and minds. That will give rise to mutual trust. We agree that it is everyone's responsibility to treat each other with dignity and respect. That will improve the quality of life in our communities. We agree that police departments must create an equitable internal environment free from discrimination. This will attract a diverse group of officers who will become part of the social fabric of America's communities.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are collectively committed to doing all we can to strengthen community partnerships; to take a hard look at our recruitment, hiring, training and oversight practices. PERF's members and our community partners believe respect for individuals' rights and the highest standards of ethics and integrity are essential to effective policing.
I want to now introduce Ms. Karla Esteve, a community leader from Phoenix, Arizona, and conference participant.
[PAUSE FOR COMMENTS FROM KARLA ESTEVE]
Yesterday's meeting should be considered the beginning of continuing dialogue. This process is clearly a journey, not a destination.
We have developed a forward-thinking agenda. We, as law enforcement leaders, pledge to take the following action on the national and local level:
First, PERF pledges to develop national best-practice standard for traffic stops, based on significant input from police departments and community members.
We recognize the need for action to move forward the ideas discussed yesterday. To this end, a working group of chiefs, leaders of national civil rights organizations and others has been formed to develop detailed proposals for new national initiatives.
We urge the police and community leaders who attended this meeting, and those colleagues who could not be with us, to have similar forums in their own communities.
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Again, open and frank discussion is not enough. It's the first positive step toward lasting change.
Thank you for attending, and we are happy to take any questions you may have.
STATEMENT OF KARLA ESTEVE, PHOENIX, AZ, AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON FINDINGS OF BALANCING CRIME STRATEGIES AND DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, APRIL 9, 1999
Thank you, Commissioner Frazier.
I stand here today representing the community leaders from across the country who joined us for the meeting yesterday. We recognize the great need for discussions of this type, and we thank the Police Executive Research Forum for bringing this group together.
Many of us who were invited as community leaders came to the table wary of not being heard or acknowledged. I speak for all of us when I say we walked away yesterday afternoon with a new sense of hope. Not every problem was solvedthere are no simple solutions to issues that cross so many lines and affect so many peoplebut we began the discussion, an important first step.
We recognize the role we play in holding our local police departments accountable to improve communications and provide equitable treatment to all. We must recognize that true collaboration takes cooperation and trust from both sides. If we want the police departments to invest in our communities, we must communicate our needs and help them serve us better.
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Commissioner Frazier will outline for you some of the steps upon which we agreed. There is no community policing without community building, and we hope that yesterday's meeting laid the first stones of a foundation for what will eventually be a strong and protective structure.
RESUME OF CHIEF EDWARD A. FLYNN
Mr. GEKAS. We thank the Chief.
The Chair notes the arrival of Chief Gainer, and we, for the purposes of the record, will grant a formal introduction. Terrence Gainer is the assistant chief of police of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. A Chicago police officer for 11 years, he headed the 3,400-member Illinois State Police since 1991. A graduate of DePaul University School of Law, he worked in the Chicago Police Department as a patrol officer, homicide detective, and commander of the legal affairs department. Gainer is a Navy Vietnam veteran and spent 2 years in Drug Enforcement at the Department of Transportation. It is our understanding that a black and white Smith and Wesson police mountain bike is his favorite mode of transportation for patrolling the streets of D.C., and that in 27 years, it has been said that he is the first assistant chief to don a uniform, get on a bike, and go on patrolmaybe you can teach some of us those routines. We now call upon Chief Gainer.
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STATEMENT OF TERRENCE W. GAINER, ASSISTANT CHIEF OF POLICE, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
Mr. GAINER. Mr. Chairman, thank youI appreciate thatand the distinguished members of the committee. I suppose the short ride on the bike is about the best stress reducer in the world, and it is nice to get out of the office and away from the paperwork.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Department and Chief Ramsey, because we strongly support the general tenor of the bill. We think the bill addresses some of the very core issues that chiefs across the United States are involved, and certainly we are at the Metropolitan Police Department, and that is the selection of candidates which might be called the right stuff. We are very concerned about the training that those officers would receive; the leadership that would guide them and give them the direction during their career on the police department as well as retention.
We know that at community meetings throughout the city and email messages that we are receiving by the score, residents of the District have made it clear how critical it is for them to have confidence in their police force. The bill is designed to bolster public confidence of the police; provide resources for the department to initiate training in those areas where police and community members have direct contactcommunity relations, sensitivity training, and, of course, use of force.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You know that the mission of the Metropolitan Police Department, very similar to every police department across the United States, is to eliminate crime, the fear of crime, general disorder, while establishing respect and trust within the community. The Serrano-Hyde Police Training Commission bill would enable the department to achieve a critical part of that mission.
In January, you know that Chief Ramsey and I requested the assistance from the Justice Department in exploring many of the issues concerning the use of force that we feel are important to us in the Metropolitan Police Department and are generating the recommendationand they are generating recommendations regarding the use of force issues, the policies and practices, many of the very things that it seems that your bill is meant to address. While we are trying to develop those best practices with the Justice Department to arrive at effective law enforcement and community relations training, we think this bill would go a long way to do that.
I might add in echo as a long-time member of PERF that what Chief Flynn and what PERF said is extremely important in this, and we had some similar issues that we think you would want to look at as you are looking at this bill and that generally is in the following four or five areas: the timeframe of the evaluation and the effectiveness. The 6 months, if that is what it turns out to be, is relatively short. The source of funds is always of concern to every police department, because, regretfully, when we push in one area we pull from another area. Whether it is earned funds or other grants or COPS funds, we would want you to consider the balance of how each of those different funding sources plays in what we are trying to do.
We would also ask youand I think that Chief Flynn was addressing thiswhat are the expectations of the community, the labor groups, the police officers are, vis a vis, what the police department brass expectations are. There are a lot of constraints upon the police departments in various parts of the country on how they can regulate their officers, and I think it is a mixed reaction for the community on what their expectations are of that oversight and what the police department thinks they can do. There is not often a meeting of the mind there.
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We think the bill is a great document, and it will go a long way toward achieving our goals regarding training, leadership, hiring, and retention. We look forward to working with the committee in that regard. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE [presiding]. Thank you very much, Chief Gainer. Mr. Pfeifer.
STATEMENT OF MARTIN L. PFEIFER, TRUSTEE, NATIONAL FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE
Mr. PFEIFER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning, distinguished Ranking Member Conyers, other distinguished members of the Committee on the Judiciary. My name is Sergeant Marty Pfeifer, and I am a 26-year veteran with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. I currently serve as the elected trustee from the District of Columbia on the National Board of Directors for the Fraternal Order of Police which is the largest organization of law enforcement professionals in the Nation, representing over 277,000 men and women.
I am here today at the request of our national president, Gilbert Gallegos. He asked me that I specifically thank you, Mr. Chairman, not only for inviting us here today to testify but for your continued leadership and support of our Nation's law enforcement. I know that President Gallegos values your stewardship for this committee just as the Fraternal Order of Police values your friendship.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On behalf of the membership of the Fraternal Order of Police, I would like to commend Chairman Hyde and Congressman Serrano for their legislation establishing a commission to study and report on police training and recruitment practices.
Law enforcement is a profession and like any other profession, we must always strive to improve ourselves as police officers. Our national president recently wrote a letter to President Clinton and Attorney General Reno to discuss his views on the need for additional law enforcement training in order to increase the effectiveness of policing today. However, while we know that increased training is of value to law enforcement, we need it all over the country, and we must be careful to consider how this training is to be delivered.
The FOP believes that professional trainers and associations can provide what management and administrative organizations cannothands-on training and training delivery systems backed up with experience and a proven record of success. The parameters of the training are best developed by the immediate stakeholderspolice administrators, rank and file officers, civil rights, and other community leaders. The training criterion, once developed by subject matter experts, is best implemented by the stakeholders in coordination with professionals outside the law enforcement community.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Pfeifer, we have a dilemma. We have a vote on the floor that we all have to go over and make. You police chiefs and police people, I understand, are invited to the White House for a ceremony to begin at noon, is that correct?
Mr. CONYERS. 12:45.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HYDE. 12:45.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. Yes, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. Can Mr. Rogan or someone else on the committee vote now and keep this going, so we don't have to interrupt and close down the whole testimony?
Mr. HYDE. You mean run over and vote and then come back and?
Mr. CONYERS. Yes, so that we have a continuous hearing.
Mr. ROGAN. Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to do that, although at my advanced age, I am not sure I will be able to run fast enough to satisfy my friend from Michigan.
Mr. HYDE. Take big steps. [Laughter.]
Mr. ROGAN. Anything to accommodate my chairman! [Laughter.]
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Jim, if you would.
All right, we will continue. I would suggest about probably 12:15 would be aboutgive you the time you need to get over to the White House. Is that all right with you or is that?
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Mr. FLYNN. They told us they wanted us over there at 12:15.
Mr. HYDE. They want you there at 12:15?
Mr. FLYNN. That is correct.
Mr. HYDE. Oh, well, all I can say then is we won't get a chance to hear you all, and we won't get a chanceMr. Shelton, Mr. Hampton, Mr. Papa, Madam Diallo, if you could stay, we would like to hear you, and if the chiefswe have your statement, which is in full; we won't have the privilege of questioning you due to this crunch, but I
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I think that that would be the best we can do here. We can excuse the officers, and those that don't have to leave will stay.
Mr. HYDE. Well, let us do that. If you officers wish to leave and you have this appointment, we understand. Your statements will be studied carefully; they will not be ignored. And we may have some questions for you in writing, and if and when this legislation passes, I am sure the commission will want to talk to you all. So, I want to thank you for being here and being willing to be here and the work you put into your statements, they are going to be studied carefully, and I want to invite you folks from Mr. Shelton on to wait, and we will come back after the vote and continue the questioning.
All right, thanks very much for your contribution. I am sorry this happened. I don't want to get mad at the White House, but that is called overbooking. Thank you very much.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. Yes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Do you think it would be possible for us to be back in about 10 minutes, and then they would still be able to be here?
Mr. HYDE. Well, they have to be at the White House at 12:15. By the time we get back, it is pushing it. Mr. Conyers has to be there too, I am told. But we will come back. We will go votethat is the second bellwe will come back, and we will hear from you folks if you would be patient. Thank you.
We will stand in recess until after the vote.
Mr. HYDE. If the committee would come to order, I think we can move ahead.
Mr. Pfeifer, we were in the middle of your testimony. If you want to pick it up, that would be fine.
I thank you for those of you that are staying. I really appreciate this. We could wait for more members, but I think we would rather go ahead and hear your testimony.
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So, Mr. Pfeifer, if you would continue.
Mr. PFEIFER. Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Continuing on, it is important to avoid politicizing local and State law enforcement. The FOP is very concerned that any commission with political appointees may not have the requisite objectivity needed to examine the issues that need to be addressed.
Similarly, we feel that the more traditional police management organizations cannot do the job alone. Cooperation and involvement of every rank of our profession is necessary to fully address training and implementation issues.
One issue which the FOP believes is often overlooked is the subject of recruitment, which is critical to the improvement of our profession. Police administrators and managers need to do a better job at hiring and retaining good qualified officers. In addition to training rank and file officers to be better officers, we need to show our law enforcement managers at all levels how to recruit and retain good officers.
It is our hope that recruitment and hiring policies will be reviewed thoroughly in the months and years ahead so that we might improve on them, and thus improve our profession.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you on behalf of our president, Gilbert Gallegos, and our membership, for reaching out to us on this issue. We have been proud to work with you in the past, and look forward to your continued cooperation on these issues which concern us, the law enforcement community, and the public whom we protect. I would be pleased to take any questions.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Pfeifer follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MARTIN L. PFEIFER, TRUSTEE, NATIONAL FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the House Committee on the Judiciary. My name is Sergeant Marty Pfeifer and I am a 26 year veteran with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. I currently serve as the elected Trustee from the District of Columbia on the National Board of Directors for the Fraternal Order of Police, which is the largest organization of law enforcement professionals in the nation, representing over 277,000 men and women.
I am here today at the request of Gilbert G. Gallegos, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. He asked that I specifically thank you, Mr. Chairman, not only for inviting us to testify here this morning, but for your continued leadership and support of our nation's law enforcement. I know that Gil values your stewardship of this Committee just as the F.O.P. values your friendship.
On behalf of the membership of the F.O.P., I would like to commend Chairman Hyde and Congressman Serrano for their legislation establishing a commission to study and report on police training and recruitment practices. Law enforcement is a profession, and like any other profession, we must always strive to improve ourselves as police officers.
Our National President recently wrote a letter to President Clinton and Attorney General Reno to discuss his views on the need for additional law enforcement training in order to increase the effectiveness of policing today. However, while we know that increasing the level and value of law enforcement training will benefit policing in our county, we need to carefully consider how this training is to be delivered.
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The F.O.P. believes that professional trainers and associations can provide what management and administrative organizations cannothands-on training and training delivery systems backed up with experience and a proven record of success. The parameters of the training are best developed by the immediate stakeholderspolice administrators, rank-and-file officers, civil rights and other community leaders. The training criterion, once developed by subject matter experts, is best implemented by the stakeholders in coordination with professionals outside the law enforcement community.
It is important to avoid politicizing local and State law enforcement, and the F.O.P. is very concerned that any commission with political appointees may not have the requisite objectivity needed to examine the issues that need to be addressed. Similarly, we feel that the more traditional police management organizations cannot do the job alone; cooperation and involvement of every rank of our profession is necessary to fully address training and implementation issues.
One issue which the F.O.P. believes is often overlooked is the subject of recruitment which is critical to the improvement of our profession. Police administrators and managers need to do a better job at hiring and retaining good, qualified officers. In addition to training rank-and-file officers to be better officers, we need to show our law enforcement managers at all levels to recruit and retain good officers.
It is our hope that recruitment and hiring policies will be reviewed thoroughly in the months and years ahead so that we might improve on them and thus improve our profession.
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Again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you, on behalf of President Gallegos and our membership, for reaching out to us on this issue. We have been proud to work with you in the past and look forward to continued cooperation on the issues which concern us, the law enforcement community and the public whom we protect. I would be pleased to answer any questions you might have for me.
Hon. HENRY J. HYDE, Chairman,
|Fraternal Order of Police,|
|National Legislative Program,|
|Washington, DC, April 29, 1999.|
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I am writing to thank you on behalf of the more than 277,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police for sharing with me draft legislation establishing a commission to study and report on police training and recruitment practices.
As I recently wrote in a letter to President Clinton and Attorney General Reno, additional law enforcement training is necessary to increase the effectiveness of policing. However, while we know that increasing the level and value of law enforcement training will benefit policing in our county, we need to carefully consider how this training is to be delivered. I believe that professional trainers and associations can provide what management and administrative organizations cannothands-on training and training delivery systems backed up with experience and a proven record of success. The parameters of the training are best developed by the immediate stakeholderspolice administrators, rank-and-file officers, civil rights and other community leaders. The training criterion, once developed by subject matter experts, is best implemented by the stakeholders in coordination with professionals outside the law enforcement community.
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I believe that we need to avoid politicizing local and State law enforcement and I fear that any commission with political appointees may not have the requisite objectivity needed to examine the issues that need to be addressed. Similarly, I am concerned that the more traditional police management organizations cannot do the job alone; cooperation and involvement of every rank of our profession is necessary to fully address training and implementation issues,
I believe, as you do, that recruitment is an issue of equal importance and one which is perhaps overlooked more often than not. Police administrators and managers need to do a better job at hiring and retaining good, qualified officers. 'in addition to training rank-and-file officers to be better officers, we need to train our law enforcement managers to recruit and retain good officers. I hope that recruitment and hiring policies will be reviewed thoroughly in the months and years ahead so that we might improve on them and thus improve our profession.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for reaching out to me on this issue. We have been proud to work with you in the past and look forward to continued cooperation on the issues which concern us, the law enforcement community and the public whom we protect. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco through my Washington office, (202) 547-8189, if I can be of any further help.
|Gilbert G. Gallegos, National President.|
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Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Pfeifer.
STATEMENT OF CALLIE L. BAIRD, ADMINISTRATOR IN CHARGE, OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT
Ms. BAIRD. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. My name is Callie Baird. I am the chief administrator of the Office of Professional Standards with the Chicago Police Department. It is my view that with the help of the Federal Government, we cities can continue to support and assist our citizenry.
Prior to my appointment to this office in July, 1998, I worked as a public defender in the City of Chicago for 10 years. The support of the mayor, Richard Daley, and superintendent of police, Terry Hillard, has allowed my office to enjoy great progress in the last year. The office of professional standards, or OPS, is unique in that we are staffed entirely with civilian investigators. OPS operates around the clock, 365 days a year, investigating police misconduct. This misconduct ranges from accusations of rough handling to investigations of excessive force, and includes domestic related matters.
OPS has an open complaint process in that we do not screen our complaints. Ninety-five percent of our investigators are degreed professionals. Our staff is racially and ethnically diverse. Over half of OPS is female, and many investigators are multi-lingual.
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Our investigations present unique challenges. In many cases, our complainants themselves are charged with criminal offenses. This obviously leads to issues of credibility. Additionally, we often do not have independent witnesses and there is rarely physical evidence to corroborate allegations of misconduct. Moreover, the manner in which we conduct our investigations is limited by department members' bill of rights, collective bargaining agreements, and arbitration decisions.
Despite these challenges, OPS is establishing a tradition of thorough and independent investigations. This reputation is an essential component of our fundamental mission, promoting trust between the citizens of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department.
As chief administrator, it has been my aim always to enhance the public's trust in our investigative process. Recently, OPS has begun an aggressive campaign to revitalize our office. To that end, the last year we have added a chief of investigations whose experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation spans 30 years. We have also added investigators and increased their training. Lastly, in hopes of capitalizing on the great success of the Chicago Police Department's community action policing strategy, we are currently creating a community outreach program to promote our mission on a grassroots level.
Originally, it was the goal of the Chicago Police Department in creating OPS to increase police accountability to the public while improving community relations and ultimately building greater confidence in the police department. This goal remains unchanged since our inception in 1974. Fortunately, under Mayor Daley and Superintendent Hillard, this goal has seen a new and energized focus. As we move toward our third decade of public service, we have sought to constantly acquire new and aggressive means to achieve our goal.
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As OPS's leader, it is my hope that we can continue to grow and meet challenge through change and improvement. I am confident that OPS, the department, and the City of Chicago is prepared to move into the new millennium. We welcome any assistance or suggestions from this committee. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Baird follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CALLIE L. BAIRD, ADMINISTRATOR IN CHARGE, OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT
My name is Callie Baird and I am the Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards for the Chicago Police Department. First, I would like to thank the Committee for this opportunity to be with you today. It is my view that with the help of the Federal Government, we cities can continue to support and assist our citizenry.
Prior to my appointment to this office in July of 1998, I worked as a Public Defender in the City of Chicago for ten years. The support of Mayor Richard Daley and Superintendent of Police, Terry Hillard has allowed my office to enjoy great progress in the last year.
The Office of Professional Standards or OPS is unique in that we are staffed entirely with civilian investigators. OPS operates around the clock 365 days a year investigating police misconduct. This misconduct ranges from accusations of rough handling to investigations of excessive force and includes domestic related matters. OPS has an open complaint process in that we do not screen our complaints. Ninety-five percent of our investigators are degreed professionals. Our staff is racially and ethnically diverse; over half of OPS is female and many investigators are multilingual.
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Our investigations present unique challenges. In many cases, our complainants themselves are charged with criminal offenses. This obviously leads to issues of credibility. Additionally, we often do not have independent witnesses and there is rarely physical evidence to corroborate allegations of misconduct. Moreover, the manner in which we conduct our investigations is limited by Department members' bill of rights, collective bargaining agreements and an arbitration decisions. Despite these challenges OPS is establishing a tradition of thorough and independent investigations. This reputation is an essential component of our fundamental mission: promoting trust between the citizens of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department. As Chief Administrator it has been my aim always to enhance the public's trust in our investigative process.
Recently, OPS has begun an aggressive campaign to revitalize our office. To that end, the last year we have added a Chief of Investigations whose experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigations spans thirty years. We have also added investigators and increased their training. Lastly, in hopes of capitalizing on the great success of the Chicago Police Department's Community Action Policing Strategy (CAPS), we are currently creating a Community Outreach Program to promote our mission on a grassroots level.
Originally, it was the goal of the Chicago Police Department in creating OPS to increase police accountability to the public while improving community relations and ultimately building greater confidence in the police department. This goal remains unchanged since our inception in 1974. Fortunately, under Mayor Daley and Superintendent Hillard this goal has seen a new and energized focus. As we move toward our third decade of public service , we have sought to constantly acquire new and aggressive means to achieve our goal. As OPS's leader it is my hope that we can continue to grow and meet challenge through change and improvement. And I am confident that OPS, the Department and the City of Chicago is prepared to move into the new millennium and we welcome any assistance or suggestions from this committee.
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Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES B. ROBERTS, ASSISTANT DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT
Mr. ROBERTS. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. Thank you for inviting us.
The Chicago Police Department is made up of approximately 13,500 sworn police officers and 3,500 civilian personnel. The education and training division of the Chicago Police Department trains over 700 Chicago recruit police officers a year. Additionally, the division trains between 150 and 200 suburban police officers from more than 150 Chicago area cities, villages and towns. The Chicago curriculum is 760 hours long. Upon successful completion of the course, graduation and testing by the State of Illinois, a police officer is certified and serves out the rest of the first year in a probationary status.
In general, the training includes: State and local law; the use of force both lethal and non-lethal; control tactics; the laws, practices and procedures of arrests, searches, and seizures; verbal communications; emergency vehicle operations; community relations in the form of the Chicago alternative policing strategy, and diversity management.
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The Chicago Police Department employs a teaching philosophy known as competency-based training. It is made up of integrated practical exercises. Following the tenets of adult learning principles, the recruit police officer throughout the 5 months of basic training is put through continual hands-on exercises, wherein he or she must demonstrate through actual performance what he or she has been taught in the previous week. The scenarios that are conducted by the academy staff and evaluators requires Chicago police recruits to exhibit through actual performance the knowledge, skills, and tactics that they have been taught in a classroom setting. The Chicago police recruit must pass the evaluation of the instructors during these practical exercises in addition to successfully passing written examinations throughout the training period.
Competency-based training has been in effect in the Chicago Police Department for almost 2 years. Police recruits are exhibiting a better grasp of the subjects taught, and are performing better on written examinations. Additionally, the police recruit states that their understanding of the subject matter is greater due to their having to perform in the scenarios what they have been told will exist upon completion of the academy and assignment to street duties.
The scenarios have been created to require the police recruit to exhibit through action, verbal control in any number of situations, control in defensive tactics where needed, proper searching and handcuffing were needed, and the proper and professional application of police procedures regardless of gender or cultural differences to themselves and the subjects in the scenario.
An example of a number of integrated practical exercises is our 3-day course entitled Diversity Management. The 3-day course, designed by the Chicago Police Academy staff and the Chicago city colleges, is an intensive 3 days of classroom and scenario situations. The learning objective for the police recruit is to properly and professionally employ police procedures and law enforcement, while remaining professional in their demeanor.
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The course is designed to have the police recruit recognize his or her own biases and stereotypes and how they could impact on their communications and actions with citizens who make up Chicago's diverse community. The recruit is first taught that being diverse is differing from one another or having distinct or unlike qualities. Diversity is made up of the characteristics that make each of us unique and individuals.
Diversity has primary and secondary characteristics. Primary characteristics are seen and cannot easily be changed, such as race, gender, physical appearance, age, et cetera. Secondary characteristics can be changed more easily, such as religion, education, economic status, et cetera. Additional scenarios build on the diversity of gender, race, and ethnicity. For many recruits, as stated by them, this is the first time that they have had to confront their own stereotypes and biases, and at the same time, perform in a professional police manner.
Many cultural diversity or sensitivity training courses focus on recognizing the difference between groups along racial, ethnic, religious, and gender lines. The philosophy of the Chicago Police Department is that there are approximately 77 different communities within the city's 224 square miles, and there are approximately 132 different ethnic groups spread out across the 279 beats that make up the geographic Chicago Police Department.
Recognizing the uniqueness and the diversity of the various groups is only part of what is taught. Maintaining an objective professional police presence is the critical aspect of the training. Our competency-based training has shown men and women that law enforcement is not for them in some cases. Had we not changed to our philosophy, many of these individuals, having the intellectual and physical ability to successfully complete the standard testing instruments would have gone on into the profession not really prepared to handle the rigors of properly and professionally enforcing the law in their diverse and dynamic community.
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Training in the Chicago Police Department does not end with the recruit when they successfully graduate from the academy. Their training continues until they complete their 1-year probationary period. The recruit police officer is assigned to an experienced veteran officer in a newly revamped field training officer program. These experienced officers have been trained in methods of training, instructional design, and employees guidelines, the performance objectives as identified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.
Additionally, the field training officers provide in-service training to other officers regardless of tenure or rank in their unit of assignment. Contemporary topics such as domestic violence, just to mention one, are taught to veteran officers by the same field training officers who also evaluate the police recruit.
The underlying philosophy of the field training officer program is to maintain and advance the Chicago Police Department as a learning organization. A learning organization simply put is one that never stops learning. Over the last 4 years, training and education and the delivery of both by the Chicago Police Department has changed significantly. The competency-based training philosophy is the main underpinning of the basic recruit training. In-service training is predicated on the simple philosophy that training is needed where there is a lack of skill or knowledge.
The philosophy helps field commanders assess whether they need training to provide the required skill or knowledge, or whether they need to take immediate and decisive corrective action. I believe that the education and training philosophy of the Chicago Police Department coupled with our Chicago alternative policing strategy is more than sufficient. However, if a national police training commission is established as the assistant deputy superintendent of education and training of the Chicago Police Department, I readily extend an invitation to that commission to visit the Chicago Police Department's Education and Training Division and see first hand what I have described in this presentation.
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Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Roberts follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHARLES B. ROBERTS, ASSISTANT DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT
I am Charles B. Roberts Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Training for the Chicago Police Department. The Chicago Police Department is made up of approximately 13,500 sworn police officers and 3,500 civilian personnel. The Education and Training Division of the Chicago Police Department (Police Academy) trains over 700 Chicago recruit police officers a year. Additionally, the Education and Training Division trains between 150 and 200 suburban police officers from more than 150 Chicago area cities, villages and towns. The Chicago curriculum is 760 hours long (five months) and upon successful completion of the course, graduation and testing by the State of Illinois a police officer is certified and serves out the rest of the first year in a probationary status. In general, the training includes state and local law, the use of force both lethal and non-lethal, control tactics, the laws, practices and procedures of arrests, searches and seizures, verbal communications, emergency vehicle operations, community relations in theform of THE CHICAGO ALTERNATIVE POLICE STRATEGY (CAPS) and diversity management.
The Chicago Police Department employs a teaching philosophy known as COMPETENCY BASED TRAINING made up of integrated practical exercises. Following the tenets of adult learning principles, the recruit police officer throughout the five months of basic training is put through continual hands on exercises wherein he/she must demonstrate through actual performance what has been taught in the previous week. The scenarios that are conducted by Academy staff and evaluators require the Chicago Police recruit to exhibit through actual performance the knowledge, skills and tactics that they have been taught in a classroom setting. The Chicago Police recruit must pass the evaluation of the instructors during these practical exercises in addition to successfully passing written examinations throughout the training period. Competency Based training has been in effect in the Chicago Police Department for almost two years. Police recruits are exhibiting a better grasp of the subjects taught and are performing better on written examinations. Additionally, the Police recruit states that their understanding of the subject matter is greater due to they're having to perform in scenarios that they have been told will exist upon completion of the Academy and assignment to street duties.
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The scenarios have been created to require the Police recruit to exhibit through action, verbal control in any number of situations, control and defensive tactics where needed, proper searching and handcuffing where needed, and the proper and professional application of Police procedure regardless of gender or cultural differences to themselves and the subjects (role players) in the scenario. An example of a number of integrated practical exercises is the three-day course entitled DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT. The three-day course designed by the Chicago Police Academy Staff and the Chicago City Colleges is an intensive three days of classroom and scenario situations. The learning objective for the Police recruit is to properly and professionally employ Police procedures and law enforcement while remaining professional in their demeanor. The course is designed to have the Police recruit recognize his/her own biases and stereo types and how they could impact on their communication and actions with citizens making up Chicago's diverse community. The recruit is first taught that being diversified is differing from one another; or having distinct or unlike qualities. Diversity is made up of the characteristic that make each of us unique and individuals. Diversity has primary and secondary characteristic. Primary characteristic are seen and cannot easily be changed, ie. race, gender, physical appearance, age, etc. Secondary characteristic can be changed more easily, such as religion, education, economics status, marital status, etc. Additional scenarios build on the diversity of gender, race and ethnicity. For many recruits, as stated by them, this is the first time they have had to confront their own stereo types and biases and at the same time perform in a professional police manner. Many cultural diversity or sensitivity training courses focus on recognizing the differences between groups along racial, ethnic, religious and gender lines. The philosophy of the Chicago Police Department is that there are approximately 77 different communities within the city's 224 square miles and their are approximately 132 different ethnic groups spread out across the 279 beats that make up the geographic Chicago Police Department. Recognizing the uniqueness and the diversity of the various groups is only part of what is taught. Maintaining an objective, professional police presence is the critical aspect of the training.
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Our competency based training has shown some men and women that law enforcement is not for them. Had we not changed to our training philosophy many of these individuals, having the intellectual and physical ability to successfully complete standard testing instruments, would have gone on into a profession not really prepared to handled the rigors of properly and professionally enforcing the law in their diverse and dynamic community.
Training in the Chicago Police Department does not end when the police recruit successfully graduates from the Academy. Their training continues until they complete their one year probationary period. The Recruit police officer is assigned to an experienced veteran police officer in the newly revamped Field Training Officer Program. These experienced officers have been trained in Methods of Training and Instructional Design and employ as guidelines the performance objectives as identified by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. Additionally, the Field Training Officers provide in-service training to the other officers regardless of tenure or rank in their unit of assignment. Contemporary topics such as Domestic Violence, to mention only one, are taught to veteran officers by the same Field Training Officers who also evaluate the police recruits. The underlying philosophy of the Field Training Officer Program is to maintain and advance the Chicago Police Department as a learning organization. A learning organization, simply put, is one that never stops learning.
Over the last four years, training and education and the delivery of both by the Chicago Police Department have changed significantly. The competency based training philosophy is the main underpinning of basic recruit training. In-service training is predicated on the simply philosophy that training is needed when there is a lack of skill or knowledge. That philosophy helps Field Commanders assess whether they need training to provided the required skill or knowledge, or whether they need to take immediate and decisive corrective action.
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I believe that the Education and Training philosophy of the Chicago Police Department coupled with the Chicago Alternative Police Strategy is more than sufficient. However, if a national police training commission is established, as the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Education and Training for the Chicago Police Department I readily extend an invitation to that commission to visit the Chicago Police Department's Education and Training Division and see first hand what I have described in this presentation.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much.
Several of the police officials who have testified have this White House event to attend today as well. I would invite any of you to stay if you can, but I think it is fair to excuse you if you need to go to that, and should go to that, and are expected to be there.
But before releasing you, and then we continue with Mr. Shelton, Mr. Hampton, and Mr. Papa, and Madam Diallo, I want to acknowledge that this is National Police Week. On Saturday, May 15th, there will be a National Peace Officer memorial service honoring 154 police officers who were killed in the line of duty last year, 1998.
Yesterday, the House passed by a vote of 420 to nothing, a resolution acknowledging the dedication and sacrifice of men and women who have lost their lives while serving as law enforcement officers. I just think it is important as we recite the sad and tragic facts about allegations and actions of brutality and excessive force, that it be mentioned and it be considered by the public who is listening to this, that every morning when a police officer gets up and kisses his family goodbye, there is a risk that he will not return that evening. We ask an awful lot of our policemen. We have a right to expect an awful lot too, because theirs is a high trust.
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That is what we are about. We want to find out what the problems are, and what, if any role the Federal Government has. We don't want to intervene in matters appropriately handled at the State level or the municipal level, but do we have the unique opportunity to ask people to help us tell us their story and what they do. We have learned a lot.
Ms. Baird talked about having civilians do the reviewing work. That seems to be a common theme. So we are going to learn from what you said. We salute you and your cooperation has been fine, wonderful. You are free to go.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Would the chairman yield?
Mr. HYDE. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Only, Mr. Chairman, because you have added comments of accolades to these officers who are here. I would like to likewise not only for myself, but certainly for the Democratic members of this committee, acknowledge the challenges that law enforcement officers face every day and what you do for our community. I hope as you have made your presentation before this committee, you will accept our questioning and challenging in the spirit that it is offered. That in fact, we are a country of laws and of justice. For so many of the crying families that we have to face on some issues tragically that have happened in misuse of law enforcement power, we ask you to participate with us to make law enforcement in the United States all that it can be. That is a system that treats all citizens fairly.
So we thank you for your testimony. As well, I add my appreciation for all of the men and women who constantly present themselves to the public on behalf of us, to keep this Nation safe.
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I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. I want to thank the gentlelady from Texas.
Does Mr. Hutchinson or Mr. Rogan have any comments? I don't solicit them, but I ask you if you want.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Because you are so kind, I am going to yield. I hope to have a question time a little bit later so I can make some comments.
Mr. HYDE. Very well.
Mr. ROGAN. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Just in the event that some of the officers do leave us, I want to thank them for their testimony. I think this has been a very productive morning. I have appreciated it. I want to say a special welcome to Deputy Chief Davis of the Los Angeles Police Department. I had many years experience working with that particular department during my years as a gang murder prosecutor and judge in Los Angeles County.
Chief Davis, you preside over one of the finest departments in the country. It has been a pleasure to have you here.
Mr. Chairman, if I also may, I ask unanimous consent that the statement of Robert T. Scully, executive director of NAPO be appended to this as part of the record. I have provided copies to the other side.
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Mr. HYDE. By NAPO, you are referring to the National Association of Police Organizations?
Mr. ROGAN. That is correct.
Mr. HYDE. Without objection, so ordered.
[The information referred to follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT T. SCULLY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POLICE ORGANIZATIONS, INC.
The National Association of Police Organizations, Inc. (NAPO) represents more than 4,000 unions and associations with over 220,000 sworn law enforcement officers throughout the United States. NAPO appreciates the opportunity to submit this statement for the record, containing our views and comments on H.R. 1659, the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999''.
BACKGROUND AND GENERAL CONCERNS
Almost all of the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the country perform their duties and responsibilities with the highest standards of integrity, honesty, and public service. They are prepared to risk their lives at a moment's notice to protect and serve the public.
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In recent months, the law enforcement community has been under great scrutiny and the subject of fervent and often unfair attacks for isolated instances of alleged police abuses by some local and state police officers. There has been a rush to make sweeping conclusions of blame and unfair judgments, ignoring the importance of the judicial process in determining the facts and imposing punishment. The current climate of denunciation of law enforcement officers generally has lead to the proposal of various solutions, including the ''National Police Training Commission Act'', to rectify both actual and perceived problems with state and local law enforcement.
NAPO unequivocally condemns those proven acts of abuse, racial or other discrimination, or misconduct by law enforcement officers or their departments, and it supports prudent steps to prevent and rectify any such abuse, discrimination, or misconduct committed by law enforcement. It is important to observe that there are adequate remedies in current federal, state, and local laws to investigate and discipline or otherwise punish officers who abuse their power, from the most nominal misconduct to the most egregious acts of police misconduct. For example, in 1994, under 42 U.S.C. 14141, the U.S. Department of Justice was given additional authority to bring sweeping injunctive relief actions whenever it found a pattern or practice of misconduct, which deprived individuals of their constitutional rights. In fact, it has been reported that currently the Department of Justice is investigating police departments in New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Los Angeles, CA; East Pointe, MI; Orange County, FL; Charleston, WV; and Riverside, CA; among other cities, and is monitoring sweeping consent agreements in Pittsburgh, PA; and Steubenville, OH. In 1994, there were over 200 law enforcement officers in federal prison. Today, there are approximately 500 sworn law enforcement officers in federal prison, and thousands of others who have been the subject of disciplinary action, even for minor infractionsthis is a small percentage.
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While acts of police misconduct and abuse should continue to be admonished and dealt with, we must not act impulsively towards the law enforcement community. Overall, NAPO is very concerned that H.R. 1659 could result in recommendations for national standards concerning the essential aspects of policing. Such recommendations could eventually have serious long term consequences for law enforcement by potentially deterring or otherwise preventing officers from carrying out their duties and responsibilities effectively and fairly, or both. We must always ask the question: As the nation's violent crime rate continues to decrease, is it acceptable to change effective and constitutional police practices that have contributed to this significant reduction in crime?
COMMENTS AND VIEWS ON THE H.R. 1659
The ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999'', H.R. 1659, introduced by Congressman Jose Serrano (DNY) and Chairman Henry Hyde (RIL), would create a commission to study and report on the policies, practices, and strategies concerning, specifically, the use of force, the use of non-lethal force, tactical and defense tactical efforts, arrests, searches and handcuffing, verbal communications, vehicle use, community relations, and sensitive training, in the context of training, recruitment, oversight, and law enforcement activities generally. The commission would submit a report to Congress of the results of its study and make recommendations. This legislation would also provide grants for training, recruitment, hiring, and oversight to the police departments of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington.
NAPO wholeheartedly concurs that training is an essential part of effective law enforcement. We support and believe that an increase in law enforcement training is beneficial in maintaining amicable relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve. It is imperative that training be examined in a cohesive and prudent manner by the professional administrators, experienced law enforcement officers and their elected association representatives, and community leaders at state and local levels. We also strongly advocate continued community policing, which not only has greatly increased the interaction between police officers and their communities, but has also been instrumental in the decrease in crime that has plagued our cities for so long.
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Under the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999'', the proposed commission would study and report to Congress its findings and recommendations, not only on law enforcement training but also on the policies, practices and organizational strategies of law enforcement. We have grave reservations about this proposed open-ended mandate, which could lead to recommendations for establishing national standards on policing in our country at all levels of law enforcement. NAPO urges the Congress to proceed with caution in considering this proposal that not only could intrude on the sovereignty and interests of state and local governments and their law enforcement agencies, but could risk overturning effective policing methods of reducing, investigating, and preventing crime, developed over many years.
NAPO is therefore adamantly opposed to giving this commission any authority to make recommendations which could lead to the federalization of training policies, practices and organizational strategies at the state and local level. Many police departments have operated effectively and fairly for many years, and almost all have developed intricate and successful policies and practices, tailored to and suitable for their communities. With the diversification of our neighborhoods and communities, state and local law enforcement agencies must retain authority to resolve complex challenges facing them, through self-examination and community interaction, not through federal directives or mandates.
We need to build strong collaborative relationships between the communities and law enforcement. This would include programs that educate both the public and police officers on the practices of our police departments. NAPO supports federal legislation that is intended to provide for effective training by state and local law enforcement professionals. There is no need for federal intervention in state and local policing, with the potential consequence of undermining state and local law enforcement autonomy and accountability. State and local governments are accountable to their electorates and the publics they serve.
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As the Judiciary Committee considers H.R. 1659, we respectfully recommend the following changes to this legislation.
Under section 3 of the bill, entitled ''Membership'', under the ''qualifications'' language, members of the Commission are supposed to be individuals who possess relevant backgrounds, credentials, and experience in some or all of the following: civil and criminal litigation, administrative and management functions of law enforcement in major cities and smaller communities, and community relations. We are very troubled by the omission of rank and file law enforcement officers and their representatives, especially given the specific inclusion of management who may be far removed in time from actual policing on the streets. It is imperative those law enforcement officers who are assigned to carry out police department practices are included to ensure adequate input from those who have first hand law enforcement experience in our communities.
Under section 3, the commission will be required to complete its work within the 180 days after the members are appointed. This interval is much too short. We agree with timely solutions, but not at the expense of inadequate examination and a loss of substantive deliberation on a number of complex and sensitive issues. Could we expect a Commission to adequately study and report back to Congress on the intricate detail of training, policies, practices and organizational strategies carried out by local law enforcement officers within this time frame? We doubt it.
Under section 4, ''Functions'', subsection (a) provides for a broad scope study of the policies, practices and organizational strategies of law enforcement. We have already discussed our serious concerns about this provision. We therefore urge that this open-ended mandate be deleted from the bill. If it is. not deleted, it should be narrowed and circumscribed, such as a prohibition on any commission recommendations for any policies, practices, or strategies on policing. This would still allow the commission to discuss various alternatives being utilized throughout the nation.
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The second subsection of section 4 would require an examination of the recruitment and hiring of law enforcement. We suggest that this section specifically include the examination of both the ''levels of adequate pay for law enforcement officers'' and the ''negative impact of residency requirements'', in the context of the ability of agencies to hire the best qualified individuals. We believe many officers in law enforcement agencies are not fairly compensated for the job they perform. With the state of our economy over the last few years, many individuals will find more economic security in the private sector than in law enforcement, thereby reducing qualified applicants for law enforcement positions and causing current experienced officers to leave. NAPO also supports the funding of educational scholarships for active law enforcement officers to pursue higher education who have committed to a law enforcement profession. Law enforcement is a young profession, and education and the experience of working the streets are essential to adequate policing. Education would not only benefit individual police officers, but also the communities they serve.
The third subsection of section 4 provides for the study of the oversight of law enforcement, including complaint procedures, investigatory staff, and due process requirements. If Congress is serious about studying the due process of complaints filed by citizens, then the commission must also study the due process rights of law enforcement officers, often mostly non-existent in many states. We would suggest, the following specific substitute language, ''the availability and fairness of due process requirements for members of the public and law enforcement officers''.
The bill provides for no safeguards against how the data amassed by the commission could be utilized, especially confidential investigative or other data. This lack of any prohibition data threatens to produce unnecessary and frivolous litigation and regulation against law enforcement officers and their agencies, thus allowing the data to be misused. For example, it might be used to bring lawsuits against municipalities, their police or sheriffs' departments, and individual officers or to impose disciplinary action on officers, based on data from the study and not on identified cases of abuse, discrimination, or misconduct. Accordingly, we recommend the inclusion of a new provision in the bill to limit the use of such data to only research and statistical purposes, and to prohibit its use for any other purpose, including any legal or administrative proceeding.
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OVERVIEW AND CONCLUSION
In conclusion, NAPO favors substantive and meaningful deliberations on the future of policing for state and local law enforcement. We need to find common ground between desirable intervention by the federal government and the autonomy and effectiveness of law enforcement at the state and local level. It is our fervent hope that, if enacted, H.R. 1659 would be modified, as we suggest, in order to not undermine state and local law enforcement, not further politicize the current debate, and not become an impetus for future discussions of creating national policing standards. If this legislation is not modified, there will be a very real potential for adverse unintended consequences in state and local law enforcement and the reduction of crime.
As a nation, we owe it to the law enforcement community, who put their lives on the line, to withhold passing judgement before all the facts are in and to let the process of our judicial system take its course. We must not act hastily and enact unfounded legislation that will further politicize high profile cases and exacerbate relations or even cause tensions between law enforcement officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. Law enforcement is an extremely dangerous and stressful profession that often requires the reaction of split second decisions and acute instincts. I implore legislators not to act expeditiously, in order to satisfy political pressure at the expense of jeopardizing the safety of both police officers and the public. The Commission has the potential to politicize the current debate on both alleged and proven instances of police abuse and misconduct. The politicization of current events and the establishment or implementation of national standards could lead to an unnecessary burden on officers, could demoralize officers, and could affect the recruitment of the best qualified officers and the willingness of current officers to stay in the profession. Officers could become very apprehensive in reacting to serious and violent situations, perhaps not using lethal force when it is called for and thereby jeopardizing the safety of potential victims, all because of justified fears of repercussions against the officers, including exaggerated media coverage, politicized and unjustified criminal prosecutions, and even threats of public unrest.
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There may be several reasons for the reduction of crime in our nation. However, it cannot be denied that effective law enforcement has played a significant contributing role. At a time when we have seen a dramatic decrease in violent crime, let us not lose sight of the fact that law enforcement officer deaths in this country have remained stagnate. Before we politicize and lose perspective on the job that officers perform, we should respectfully recognize, especially during ''National Police Week 1999'', thousands of police officers whose names are inscribed on the Police Memorial because they gave their lives to serve and protect our country and our communities.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we thank you for considering our concerns and suggestions during the committee's deliberations on this bill. NAPO stands ready to be of any assistance during those deliberations. Thank you again for the opportunity to submit this statement.
Mr. HYDE. We thank you.
Now, Mr. Shelton?
STATEMENT OF HILIARY SHELTON, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON BUREAU OF THE NAACP
Mr. SHELTON. Good afternoon, Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers, and distinguished members of this committee. Thank you for inviting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to participate in today's hearing. Police misconduct affects every sector of the United States, and indeed, imperils our national fiber. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the ways that we can and should address this national crisis.
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Before I begin, I would like to ask that my extended testimony and accompanying supportive materials be included in the record.
Mr. HYDE. Without objection.
Mr. SHELTON. As many of you are aware, the NAACP is the Nation's oldest and largest grassroots civil rights organization. Founded in 1909, the NAACP today currently serves over 600,000 card carrying members. The sad truth, in the matter before us, is that we are one small step from the major problems in our country with respect to civil unrest around the issue of police misconduct and the excessive use of force.
As the members of the committee well know, respect for the law and order is a cornerstone of a free society. The rule of law is predicated upon the consent of the people who believe that laws are administered fairly and justly, thus commanding respect and confidence from the people they serve. In short, the respect must be earned again and again with each new day.
In 1993, the NAACP released a study on police misconduct, entitled ''Beyond the Rodney King Story.'' This report, which was compiled after more than a year of hearings throughout the country, sought to examine the problem of police misconduct, and come up with workable, constructive solutions. For your information, I am including a copy of this report along with my extended testimony for the record.
At this point, given the time constraints, I would like to focus on some of the solutions proposed by the 1993 NAACP report, along with other actions that the NAACP believes must be taken in order to seriously and adequately address the problem of police misconduct. Before I begin, however, I would like to caution you that what I am proposing is a comprehensive package. If taken by themselves, then many of these proposals cannot be considered solutions. I am also including additional recommendations in my extended testimony that the NAACP feels strongly must be included in any reasonable package.
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First, the NAACP is calling for the establishment of effective, independent, police accountability review boards. Included in my lengthier testimony, are 10 components that the NAACP, working along with other civil rights organizations, has established as necessary for any police accountability review board. These 10 points would make such a board independent with both subpoena and investigatory power necessary to be effective.
While the NAACP envisions these review boards to be run at the city or county level, we are calling on the Federal Government to provide assistance in establishing and maintaining them. We would also like to see the Federal Government use the billions of dollars it provides each year as an incentive to localities to establish effective police accountability review boards.
The NAACP also feels strongly that police accountability review boards would help us to identify the few law enforcement officers who are at the heart of the problem. At the NAACP's 1993 study established, and later studies have confirmed, it really is only a few officers who are causing a majority of the police misconduct problems. In Washington, D.C., for example, the now defunct Police Accountability Review Board found that 15 percent of the police officers were responsible for 65 percent of the complaints lodged.
Secondly, the NAACP is calling for increased funding for at least two Federal programs that are already in place, yet woefully under funded. Specifically, the NAACP would like to see at least $5 million for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division work on police misconduct. Further, the NAACP would like to see $5 million allotted to improve female and minority recruitment into law enforcement.
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Thirdly, the NAACP would like to see the administration develop and implement a strategy for fulfilling the provisions in the 1994 crime bill, requiring the collection of excessive force data. It is only with this data that we can begin to adequately assess and address the problem.
Fourth, the NAACP would like to see every law enforcement agency, regardless of size or jurisdiction engaged in a variety of training exercises to make their offices more responsive to the communities they serve. These training sessions should involve people from all different aspects of community, including ethnic minorities, religious leaders, feminists, and representatives of the gay and lesbian communities.
Fifth, law enforcement agencies nationwide should review their hiring practices and criteria. Police departments should recruit better educated candidates, and put a premium on candidates who are free of race, gender, and sexual orientation bias. Police departments should also take a lesson from the armed services, and aggressively recruit from within minority communities.
Lastly, and I will hope that the members of this panel may pay close attention to this request. The NAACP urges you in the most urgent terms possible, to work for the quick enactment of the Traffic Stops Statistics Act, H.R. 1443. This bill would provide us with the data to verify what is to date largely anecdotal evidence, that people of color get pulled over at a vastly disproportionate rate. As Chairman Hyde so sagely remarked just last year, traffic stops based on race are wrong and must not be tolerated.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, let me say that the NAACP is committed to working hard on this issue, and to do whatever it takes to eliminate the scourge of police misconduct from this Nation. We must rid ourselves of bias and prejudice in law enforcement at all levels. From the small time sheriff who pulls a car over simply because of the color of the driver's skin, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service's officer who is unnecessarily rough on an individual simply because he suspects that he or she is not an American citizen.
I implore the committee and all Members of Congress to work hard and together on this issue, and to come up with a set of real solutions. Just as we wouldn't use a band-aid to treat a severed arm, we should not simply pay lip service to the problems of police misconduct in the United States. By not adequately addressing the problems of police misconduct, this Congress will be sending a message to Americans of color that their concerns are not being taken seriously. This in turn, would serve as further alienation to an already cynical and indeed angry population.
Mr. Chairman, the NAACP welcomes the opportunity to work with this committee and with the U.S. Congress to help address this very serious concern.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Shelton follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HILIARY SHELTON, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON BUREAU OF THE NAACP
Good morning Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Conyers, and the distinguished members of this panel. Thank you for inviting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to participate in today's hearing. Police misconduct affects every sector of the United States, and indeed imperils our national fiber, as such, I welcome the opportunity to discuss ways that we canand shouldaddress this national crisis.
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As many of you are aware, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots civil rights organization. Founded in 1909, the NAACP today currently serves over 600,000 card carrying members through our over 1,700 branches and over 400 youth and college units throughout the continental United States. The principal objectives of the NAACP are to insure the political, educational, social and economic equality of ethnic minority citizens through the democratic process; to achieve equality of rights and eliminate racial prejudice and discrimination among the citizens of the Untied States; to seek enactment and enforcement of federal, state and local laws securing civil rights; to inform the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and to seek its elimination; and to educate people of the United States of their constitutional rights.
It is only natural, then, that the NAACP has, since its inception, been instrumental in investigating complaints of police brutality and working to develop the means of ending this insidious problem. Before I get into too much detail about what the NAACP has done and what we would like to see happen in the very near future, I would like to make one thing clear: police misconduct has been a long-standing problem in this nation, as old indeed than the nation itself. And although several specific, very high-profile, instances of police abuse have recently been brought to the public's attention, this is by no means a new problem.
Over the last three years our President and CEO Mr. Kweisi Mfume has led the NAACP to demonstrate in front of the U. S. Department of Justice, in front of the Capitol, and in the streets of Pittsburgh and New York City to end this scourge that appears to be more frequent everyday. Yet at the heart of our demonstrations is the fact that this is not a new problem, we are just growing increasingly weary of being treated as criminals or suspected criminals simply because we are walking down the street, driving a car, or sitting on our front porch.
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Regardless of where you go in this nation, if you engage a group of people of color in a discussion about police misconduct, you will invariably find someone who has a compelling, very real, and very personal story to tell. Some of these accounts may seem more serious, or menacing, than others. However, as an African American person who loves this country I can tell you that any misconduct by a police officer based purely on a person's race, age, gender, sexual preference, religion or ethnic heritage poses a serious threat to the very philosophical tenet upon which this nation was founded: that every American shall have the inalienable right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. In the vision and words of the Founding Fathers, it is the right of every American citizen to be ''free of the tyranny of the State''.
I say this to put my next statement in context. We are one small step away from major problems in our country with respect to civil unrest around the issue of police misconduct and the excessive use of force. Respect for law and order is the cornerstone of a free society. The rule of law is predicated upon the consent of the people who believe the laws are administered fairly and justly, thus commanding respect and confidence from the people they serve. In short, the respect must be earned again and again with every new day. The NAACP feels very strongly that we must take concrete and decisive action now to ensure that our sons and daughters do not become victims of police brutality or the mistrust and hatred that it breeds. It is past time that action be taken.
With the highly publicized beating of Rodney King as a catalyst, the NAACP announced at its 1991 Annual Convention that it would conduct a series of national hearings into police conduct. As defined by the NAACP, ''the purpose of the hearings was to provide a public platform for citizens, public officials, community leaders, law enforcement personnel and experts to detail why they believe there continues to exist a wall of mistrust between African-American communities and law enforcement departments. The study also sought to examine positive steps that have been taken, and what can be done in the future to address this dangerous situation.'' Finally, we made it quite clear at the beginning of each of the hearings throughout the country that the NAACP was engaged in any form of ''police bashing'', but had come in search of information.
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The resulting study was released in 1993, and the vast majority of the findings are, unfortunately, still hauntingly true today. I say unfortunately because little has changed over the last 6 years. For your information, I am including copies of the executive summary of the 1993 NAACP report along with my testimony. What I would like to do here is summarize the findings of our report as they relate to the problems at hand and, in addition, focus on what the NAACP sees as solutions that must be implemented if our society are going move past mistrust and disrespect and move towards our full potential as a nation.
The first goal of the study was to define the problem. What the NAACP found was that a wall of mistrust exists between ethnic minority groups and the police, and that the relationship continues to erode.
Next, the NAACP tried to examine the origins of this breakdown of respect and cooperation. What we found was that racismthe combination of racial-prejudice plus power, and intolerance for different cultures, is a critical component of police misconduct. There is a growing feeling in the African American community that the police regard all community members as either criminals or potential criminals. Police practices in ethnic minority communities are a direct source of this perception. Community residents have commented that most inner-city police officers do not live in the neighborhoods they patrol and are perceived as something more akin to a foreign occupying force.
The fact of the matter is that African Americans, and indeed most people of color, are not treated in a fair or equitable manner by the police or, as a mater of fact, by the overall judicial system. As studies in Maryland, New Jersey and other states throughout our nation demonstrate, all we have to do is get behind the wheel of a car and drive, and we are more likely to be pulled over much more often than our majority population counterparts.
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The issue of ''racial profiling'' is finally beginning to gain much deserved media attention as of late. It is however, a problem that has been with our nation for a far back as our collective African American recollections can take us. No matter what the age grouping, from 17 to 97, and no matter what region of the country you survey, nearly everyone has a story to tell of unfair treatment by the police based on racial identification. The conclusion should not be surprising to non-minority members of this Congressracial profiling is blatantly unjust, and because it has been a fact of life in our communities for so long it has fosteredd a mistrust of the police, and consequently, the American judicial system as a whole. This reality should also be of no surprise as most Americans initial introduction to our criminal justice system begins with an encounter with a police officer.
Our 1993 study also discussed the problems associated with excessive force by police officers when making an arrest, and the impact of verbal abuse and harassment by police officers when it is concentrated on one particular segment of society. While I could spend hours upon hours citing recent examples of these problems, I believe that the victims and families of victims on this panel will be able to discuss this problem with great moral authority. Even as such, it is hard for me to believe that any vaguely conscious American really believes that these problems do not exist.
So what is the solution to these problems? Unfortunately, there is not one simple answer. What we need are comprehensive packages, at the federal, state, and local levels that address these issues. We also need elected officials, police union executives and people in positions of authority to commit themselves to ridding our nation of this scourge.
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In recent meetings with President Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume outlined three major directives that the NAACP feels need to be implemented immediately to curtail the current crisis.
First, President Mfume called on the President and the Attorney General to quickly develop a process, if necessary, through executive order whereby federal law enforcement dollars can be withheld from police departments that have an unusually high number of brutality complaints or a significant number of unresolved or pending complaints of brutality or excessive force.
Secondly, congressional leaders of both parties must immediately follow through and fund the provision of the Crime Control Act of 1994 that provides funding to allow for the accurate collection of comprehensive national data on the use of excessive force by the police. This would also include data on the number of people killed or injured by police shootings or other types of force. Although the provision has been mandated, it has yet to be funded.
Lastly, in his conversations with the President and the Attorney General, President Mfume discussed the need to establish a uniform set of procedures and a process for the establishment of nationwide and city-and-county wide Police Civilian Review Boards that have both subpoena and investigatory powers.
It is this last point that I would like to take just a few minutes to flush out more thoroughly, as I believe that effective police accountability review boards will go a long way towards reigning in police misconduct. They will also be instrumental in helping ethnic minority communities begin to regain confidence and restore trust in our local police.
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The NAACP, along with the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, released a report that included 10 principles for an effective civilian review board. These 10 principles are:
Independence. The power to conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses and report findings and recommendations to the public.
Investigatory power. The authority to independently investigate incidents and issue findings on complaints.
Mandatory Police Cooperation. Complete access to police witnesses and documents through legal mandate or subpoena power.
Adequate funding. Should not be lower budget priority than police internal affairs systems.
Hearings. Essential for solving credibility questions and enhancing public confidence in the process.
Reflect Community Diversity. Board and staff should be broadly representative of the community it serves.
Policy Recommendations. Civilian oversight can spot problem policies and provide a forum for developing reforms.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Statistical Analysis. Public statistical reports can detail trends in allegations, and early warning systems can identify officers who are subjects of unusually numerous complaints.
Separate offices. Should be housed away from police headquarters to maintain independence and credibility with the public.
Disciplinary Role. Board findings should be considered in determining appropriate disciplinary action.
The NAACP believes that the federal government should play an active role in the establishment of these police accountability review boards. While the NAACP recognizes that most, if not all, of the nation's police departments get the majority of their money from their local municipality, there is a clear role for the federal government to play. The federal government can provide guidance and assistance to states and municipalities in the establishment of police accountability review boards; they can collect data that will be useful in determining how successful the boards are, and they can tie federal money to the establishment of these boards.
The NAACP also feels strongly that Police Accountability Review Boards will help us to identify the few law enforcement officers who are at the heart of the problem. As the NAACP 1993 study established, and later studies have confirmed, it really is only a few officers who are causing a majority of the police misconduct problems. In Washington, D.C., for example, the police accountability review board found that 15% of the police officers were responsible for 65% of the complaints lodged.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are also several other areas that the NAACP has identified and is actively pursuing in our attempts to resolve the problems surrounding police misconduct.
The NAACP is calling for increased funding of at least two federal programs that are already in place, just woefully underfunded. Specifically, the NAACP would like to see at least $5 million for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights division's work on police misconduct. Further, the NAACP would like to see $5 million allotted to improve female and minority recruitment into law enforcement.
The NAACP would like to see the Administration develop and implement a strategy for fulfilling the provisions in the 1994 Crime Bill requiring the collection of excessive force data. It is only with this data that we can begin to adequately assess and address the problem.
In addition, the NAACP believes that police training programs must be instituted that are aimed at breaking the ''code of silence.'' Too often, law enforcement officers are reluctant to inform the appropriate people if they see their partner or others involved in misconduct or blatant racism.
Further, the NAACP calls upon the U.S. Congress and the Administration to conduct a systematic review of all Operation Pipeline drug interdiction training, as well as all other programs, for explicit or implicit racial references or stereotyping.
The NAACP has also called for every law enforcement agency, regardless of size or jurisdiction, engage in a variety of training exercises to make their officers more responsive to the communities they serve. These training sessions should involve people from all different aspects of the community, including ethnic minorities, religious leaders, feminists, and representatives of the gay and lesbian communities. Education sessions should be held with other urban social service providers whenever possible
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Law enforcement agencies nationwide should review their hiring practices and criteria. Police departments should recruit better educated candidates, and put an premium on candidates who are free of race, gender and sexual orientation bias. Police departments should also take a lesson from the armed services, and aggressively recruit from within the minority community. Community connections and a freedom from bias should also be rewarded when it comes to promotions. Throughout the nation, the NAACP has found a stark absence of minorities in positions of authority throughout law enforcement agencies. This is demoralizing not only to officers of color, but to the communities they serve as well.
We are further convinced that the number of casualties that result from police misconduct could be further reduced by introducing a new paradigm in non-lethal technology in the apprehension of criminal suspects in addition to more comprehensive training to this end.
The NAACP would like to see the elimination of the ''48 hour'' rule, whereby law enforcement officers cannot be interviewed regarding an alleged misconduct for at least 48 hours after the incident has occurred. This rule provides a gross disservice to the victims of police misconduct.
Lastly, and I would hope that the members of this panel pay close attention to this request, the NAACP urges you, in the most urgent terms possible, to work for the quick enactment of the Traffic Stops Statistics Study Act, H.R. 1443. This bill would provide us with the data to verify what is, to date, largely anecdotal evidence: that people of color get pulled over at a vastly disproportionate rate. As Mr. Hyde so sagely remarked just last year, ''traffic stops based solely on race are wrong and must not be tolerated.''
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, let me say that the NAACP is committed to working hard on this issue and to do what ever it takes to eliminate the scourge of police misconduct from this nation. We must rid ourselves of bias and prejudice in law enforcement at all levels; from the small town sheriff who pulls a car over simply because of the color of the drivers' skin, to the immigration and naturalization service officer who is unnecessarily rough on an individual simply because he or she is not an American citizen
I implore the committee, and all Members of Congress, to work hard and together on this issue, and to come up with a set of real solutions. Just as you wouldn't use a Band-Aid to treat a severed arm, we should not simply pay lip service to the problems of police misconduct in the United States.
By not adequately addressing the problems of police misconduct, this Congress will be sending a message to Americans of color that their concerns are not being taken seriously. This, in turn, would serve to further alienate an already cynical, and indeed angry population.
Mr. HYDE. Well, I thank you for very valuable testimony, Mr. Shelton.
STATEMENT OF RON HAMPTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAMPTON. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Conyers, other distinguished members of the committee. My name is Ronald Hampton. I am the executive director of the National Black Police Association. The NBPA is a 27-year-old advocacy organization involved in the examination and analysis of criminal justice policies that have a negative impact on people of color in law enforcement as well as their community.
Mr. HYDE. Would you pull the mike a little closer, and I'll turn mine on so you can hear me.
Mr. HAMPTON. They pushed it down for the camera.
Mr. HYDE. Yes, they did. We want to hear you.
Mr. HAMPTON. All right. Thank you. In keeping with our mission, we have been involved with a variety of discussions, debates, and sessions regarding this very important issue and its impact.
Today I have been invited to address H.R. 1659, the ''National Police Training Commission Act for 1999.'' Let me tell you that I am a 23-year veteran, retired veteran of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, and have been involved in designing and delivery of police and community training, both nationally and internationally for almost 20 years. In my opinion, one of the most over-used words in the law enforcement community today is the term ''training.'' We are always hearing about some new training and the very valuable nature of this training for rank and file police officers. We are also reminded of how this training is going to change the way we police in America, only to be disappointed with the usual results.
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For example, the training for the implementation of community policing has been exclaimed as having ground-shaking impact that was going to change policing from what it used to be to be more citizen and customer oriented. In my opinion, change has not happened. I believe we underestimated the present culture and value system of traditional policing, as well as our political system that drives policing in this country, and hereby determines who gets policed.
Additionally, training is also the most abused word and process used in traditional policing today. What I mean is that every time there is a physical abuse by a police officer in a police uniform, every time there is a shooting by a police officer on or off duty, every time there is a verbal abuse by a police officer, and moreover, every time there is an uprising after some senseless inhuman act on the part of a police officer or group of officers, someone comes up with the idea of more training to address the very response that they were trained to give.
In my opinion, Chairman Hyde and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this legislation is not the answer to the problem and the crisis of police brutality in America. No, I don't consider myself an expert, but I have worked as a police officer and have been involved in training and reform for at least a quarter of a century now. The one thing that I am sure of is that police do what they are trained to do and conditioned to do. In the past several years, I have had the occasion to research and pull out a variety of commission reports issued over the past regarding investigations, conclusions, and recommendations on how to correct the problem.
Connected to my testimony, Mr. Chairman, I wanted to call your attention to the number of reports that I was able to look up and find and look in the recommendations just to connect it to my statement. I would be also willing to provide a series of the recommendations. I believe Mr. Shelton's report is also a part of that also. Today, most of these reports, if not all of them, have similar recommendations, but not truly give the necessary attention to the implementation. You see, most people in law enforcement think that only those in law enforcement can understand the issue as well as offer recommendations for change.
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Lastly, I believe training is one of the number of fundamental changes that must occur if we are going to have community constitutional compliance policing. Let me say that again. Community constitutional compliance policing. However, as well as others, I have seen this movie before, and the conclusion is predictable.
Thank you for the opportunity to give this testimony. I am available for questions, and also look forward to the opportunity to work with you. I have also included, Mr. Chairman, five or six recommendations from my organization that we would support and think should be and have to be an integral part of the real as well as any effort if we are going to get to the bottom of police brutality in this country.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hampton follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF RON HAMPTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL BLACK POLICE ASSOCIATION
My name is Ronald E. Hampton and I am the Executive Director of the National Black Police Association. The NBPA is a twenty-seven year advocacy organization involved in the examination and analysis of criminal justice practices, that have a negative impact on people of color in law enforcement, as well as their communities. In keeping with our mission, we have been involved in a variety of discussions, debates and sessions regarding this very important issue and its impact.
Today, I have been invited to address H.R. 1659 the ''National Police Training Commission Act of 1999.'' Let me tell you that I am a twenty-three year retired veteran of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, and I have been involved in the designing and delivery of Police and Community Training, both nationally and internationally, for almost twenty years. (Please sees my attached biographical sketch). In my opinion, one of the most over used words in the law enforcement community today is the term training. We are always hearing about some new training and the very valuable nature of this training for rank and file police officers. We are reminded of how it is going to change the way we police in America, only to be disappointed with the ''business as usual'' results.
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For example, the training for the implementation of community policing has been exclaimed as having ground-shaking impact, that was going to change policing from what it use to be, to being more citizen or consumer-oriented. In my opinion, change has not happened. I believe we underestimate the present culture and value systems of traditional policing, as well as, our political system that drives policing in this country and thereby determine who gets policed. Additionally, training is also the most abused word and process used in traditional policing today. What I mean is that every time there is physical abuse by a police officer in a police uniform, every time there is a shooting by a police officer on or off duty, every time there is verbal abuse by a police officer, and moreover every time there is a an uprising after some senseless, inhuman act on the part of a police officer or group of officers, someone comes up with the idea of more training to address the very response that they were trained to give.
In my opinion, Chairman Hyde and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this legislation is not the answer to the problem and crises of police brutality in America. No, I do not consider myself an expert, but I have worked as a police officer, and I have been involved in training and reform for at least a quarter of this century. The one thing that I am sure of is that the police do what they are trained and conditioned to do.
In the past several years, I have had the occasion to research and pull out a variety of commission reports issued over the past, regarding investigations, conclusions and recommendations on how to correct the problem. Today most of these reports, if not all of them, have similar recommendations, but do not truly give the necessary attention for implementation. You see, most people in law enforcement think that only those in law enforcement can understand the issues, as well as, offer recommendations for change.
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Lastly, I believe training is one of a number of fundamental things that must occur if we are going to have community constitutional compliance policing. However, I, as well as others, have seen this movie before and the conclusion is predictable.
Thank you for the opportunity to give this testimony and I am available for questions at this time.
Expand and promote police community partnerships and dialogue
Insist on police accountability, beginning with a clear message that misconduct will not be tolerated. The establishment of independent reviews of performance.
Recruitment of officers who reflect the communities they serve
Increase in civil rights enforcement
Collect data in order to better define the scope of the problem, and to measure efforts to solve it
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The Knapp Commission, New York
The Mollen Commission, New York
Police Brutality and excessive force in the New York City Police DepartmentAmnesty International, USA
Kerner Commission, New York
Christopher Commission, Los Angeles
NAACP Report on Police Brutality, Rodney King
National Tribunal on Police MisconductNational Black Police Association
Allegations of police torture in Chicago, Amnesty International, USA
Torture, ill-treatment and excessive force by police in Los Angeles, Amnesty International, USA
Curran Commission, New York State Commission on Criminal Justice and the Use of Force
On the Line: Police Brutality and Its Remedies, American Civilian Liberties Union
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Racial and Ethnic Tensions in American Communities: Poverty, Inequality, and Discrimination, Mount Pleasant Report, Washington, DC
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Hampton.
STATEMENT OF GERARD J. PAPA, NEW YORK, NY
Mr. PAPA. I would like to sincerely thank Norman Siegel of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Rachel King of the ACLU in D.C., Ted Kalo from the Democratic staff, and Congressman Conyers, for giving me the opportunity to testify here today. I would also like to thank Chairman Hyde, who I admire very much, for having these hearings.
We face a golden opportunity here to reach consensus of attitude and action on a difficult problem which has been needlessly divisive for much too long in this country. I am a Republican. For my entire adult life, I have run the Flames youth program, which deals with inner city kids, which I founded 25 years ago, and which has a reputation for bridging racial divides in Brooklyn.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thirteen years ago, I was driving in Coney Island with a black friend in my car. Undercover cops in undercover cars rolled up on us, illegally stopped us, trapped us front and back, jumped out of their cars with guns, and opened fire on us when we didn't get out of the car. We had no idea they were police. We hid under the dashboard as we heard the bullets breaking our windows and tearing into the car. After more police arrived, they dragged me from the car, handcuffed me, and beat me savagely enough to break my ribs, turn my head into a bloody mess, and do some brain damage. They then arrested us, put us in jail, and charged us with attempted murder of them. We, of course, had no weapon. Within a few months, the charges against us were dropped. The police went on their way.
The police were never disciplined. The DA in Brooklyn at the time was Elizabeth Holtzman, a former member of this committee. She never convened a grand jury, until The New York Times wrote an article 10 months later. And even then, she didn't allow the grand jury to indict them. Some grand jurors stepped forward and complained about that afterwards. We went to the U.S. attorney and we went to the Justice Department at the time, but were unable to get prosection.
When they finally got to a civil jury, the jury was so outraged at their conduct, that they awarded us the largest verdict in the history of the country in a police brutality case. I mean the police got on the stand and told lies so brazen, that a House Democrat would call it perjury.
There is nothing special about my case, except the fact that it's indicative of the type of thing that can and does happen across the country. I know it's difficult to believe. Too many people, including a lot of my Republican friends, look the other way on thisas a sort of conscious or sub-conscious Faustian bargain, where they think it somehow helps law enforcement. But the truth is this: There are few things that are more harmful to law enforcement than toleration of police crimes or bad conduct by police. It is detrimental to police and to law enforcement. Crime is crime.
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It's not bad apples, it's not just bad apples. It is a systemic problem which allows good people, basically good people, good cops, good men, to do bad things. I know it is difficult to believe these things. It would be difficult for me to believe them. But when I lay on the street at the bottom of that pile getting my brains beat in, I learned. When I saw the cops conduct of their superiors afterwards, I learned things which I would not believe if I had not experienced them myself.
Several months ago, people I admire on this committee argued strongly and courageously for the sanctity of the oath and the sanctity of the rule of law in this country, especially among those charged with enforcing our laws. I respect that very much, what they did. I say, ''Amen,'' and ask you to please, please lead the charge. Please lead the charge, with the same passion, for application of the same principles to those who are most directly involved with enforcing our laws every day.
There is no denying that race is a problem. It would be a big mistake, however, to think that race is at the core of the problem. The core of the problem is training and discipline. Not one, not the other, both. You can't have one without the other. If you say it's just training, you are wrong. If you say it's just discipline, you are wrong.
It would be difficult, I think, for people to understand the tremendousA bedrock of our Constitution is that police must be an extension of the citizenry. Our whole Bill of Rights, it's all oriented around limitations of police power and police being an extension of the citizenry. Unless you hang out in the projects like I have, unless you have been stopped as many times as I have, it is very difficult to understand the degree of alienation that exists, and that must be addressed for all concerned.
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I would like, if I could have 30 more seconds, Mr. Chairman, to finish? When I sat down to do today's remarks, as I took the train down here, the first word I wrote on a piece of paper was ''Jami.'' Jami is the name of a boy who played for me for many years. He was 19-years-old and he was killed 7 months ago. I did his eulogy. I threw dirt on his grave at the burial. He wasn't killed by a cop. He was killed by some thug in Coney Island. He himself had been doing things in the streets that he shouldn't have been doing. His best friend was killed a month earlier in the same situation. They are only the latest two in a series of 20, maybe 30 kids who have played for me, who I loved over the years, who have been taken by the streets and by violence.
Without question, my concern is not just for police bullets. It's for all bullets that kill my kids. Without question, our minority communities have the greatest need for effective law enforcementand cannot get that as long as there is a rift between community and police. I beg that this commission, this committee, take this opportunity, which I think is a golden opportunity, to reach a consensus on a plan of action to address this. I think the commission, if taken seriously and not superficially, can be the vehicle for setting forth that consensus and restoring the fundamental constitutional relationship between police and regular citizens in our country. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Papa follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GERARD J. PAPA, NEW YORK, NY
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1. Thank you Mr. Chairman, Mr. Conyers, and Members of the Committee.
2. Mr. Papa's personal experience with crimes by police.
3. Not looking other way. Systemic problems. Harm police crimes do to other police and law enforcement.
4. Need for Republican leadership on this issue.
5. Constitutional principle of police as extension of citizenry.
6. Race: An important factor, but not at core of problem.
7. Training and Discipline, or lack thereof, at root.
8. Harm to our African-American communities of placing undue emphasis on examples of bad police behavior.
9. Golden moment in time to open minds, to realize there is only one side to this issue and to reach consensus of attitude and action.
10. Specific recommendations.
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Specific recommendations by Mr. Papa for a consensus plan of action can be found in the transcript of this Hearing as follows:
(1) colloquy with Mr. Conyers re police perjury;
(2) colloquy with Mr. Nadler re
(a) elimination of us-against-them attitude and change of perspective on both ''sides,''
(b) Constitutional role of U.S. Justice Department in forming a rapid response team to aid local investigations and in making existing federal funding dependent upon local police departments' meeting stated criteria for conduct,
(c) a quantum leap in duration, quality and type of training, and
(d) establishment of a permanent special prosecutor by every State; and
(3) colloquy with Mr. Hyde re need for Commission to make recommendations on enforcement and legislation, as well as on training.
Amnesty International, included Mr. Papa's experience with the NYPD in its June 1996 report, United States of America: Police brutality and excessive force in the New York City Police Department, pages 5152. The extreme nature of the episode won international attention from sources as diverse as, e.g., France-Soir, 60 Minutes, 17 Progresso, Vibe Magazine, and The New York Times. The first New York Times article, dated January 20, 1987, referred to in Mr. Papa's oral testimony, is annexed.
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New York City turned down Mr. Papa's offer, at the time of his record-setting verdict, to use half the proceeds to fund programs for improving police and community relations.
Mr. Papa has been stopped over 20 times without cause by police, both in and out of New York, while in African-American communities or traveling with African-American friends.
A brief biography of Mr. Papa is annexed.
A brief portrait of Flames, published by The President's Initiative on Race in its January 1999 report, page 7, is annexed.
Life-long resident of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, N.Y. Catholic primary and high school education. B.A., Columbia College '72, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. J.D., Columbia Law '75, Stone Scholar. International Fellow, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs '74. Teacher, Xaverian H.S., 1975. Wall Street tax attorney, Seward & Kissel, 197579. Private law practice thereafter. Born 1953. Life-long Republican. Appointed by Gov. George Pataki and NY State Senate to New York State Governor's Youth Council in 1995. Member of Republican Senatorial Inner Circle.
25 years ago, founded Flames, an all-volunteer, interracial group renowned for front-line work with inner-city youths and miraculous success at bridging violent racial divides between Bensonhurst and Coney Island in the 1970's. What began as one basketball team has served 20,000 young people for two generations. He remains president of the organization and personally supervises its daily operation. The President's Initiative on Race recognized Flames in its 1999 report, Pathways to One America in the 21st Century: Promising Practices for Racial Reconciliation (page 7, copy annexed). Gerard's efforts with Flames have attracted international notice through, e.g.: 60 Minutes, The NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Sunday Morning, The New Republic and Great Britain's ITN and BBC.
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ADDRESSES BY GERARD PAPA ON POLICE CONDUCT, RACE RELATIONS AND INNER-CITY YOUTH WORK:
United States Commission of Civil Rights, Hearings in New York City on Police Practices and Civil Rights; New York City, May 26, 1999
Columbia College of Columbia University, Commencement Address; New York, February 1997
Dartmouth College, ''Senior Seminar on Race, Ethnicity and Immigration;'' 1992, '93, '95, '97
Kellogg National Fellowship Program, Group XIII Orientation Seminar, ''Leadership and Leaders: The Personal Dimensions;'' Lake Bluff, Illinois, 1993
National Conference, ''A Dialogue with Community Leaders on African-American Men and Boys, and their Families,'' sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The National Urban Coalition, Inc.; Washington, D.C., 1992
Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center of Touro College, forum on ''The Use of Police Force: Reasonable or Excessive;'' Huntington, New York, 1992
Columbia Law Review, Annual Banquet; New York City, 1990
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Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Papa, for your very valuable testimony.
Now, Madam Diallo.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, might I thank the lady for joining us at my request and invitation? She is mother of Amadou Diallo, and is accompanied by her attorney, Harriett Sheridan, Esquire. We thank you for taking your time to be with us.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF KADIATO DIALLO
Ms. DIALLO. I thank the audience and I thank you, Mr. Conyers, for the invitation. Chairman Hyde, I heard about you. I thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to speak by the voice of a man who is no longer in this world. He is my son, Amadou Diallo, my eldest son.
First, when I heard the news of the death of my son, I was thinking what happened to him? Accident? He was sick at the hospital? How did this happen, because I was in Guinea. They called me back. They said they don't know who killed him, but he was shot 41 times. That was like they were killing me each time. The first news, my son died. The second, he was shot. And a few hours after, they called me back and they said he was killed by the police. So you can imagine the rest.
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Here today I am here as a grieving mother. I am not a politician. I don't understand much about the bill. But what I can say is that I am not the only victim. I have seen mothers that lost their children. They know how I feel today. Well, my concern is that how this thing happened to my son in his vestibule. It was not outside. It was in the house. The door is open. He was unarmed, with no criminal records. So how? I am still asking myself this question, and I cannot find no answer.
Because the four cops who shot at my son, they have plenty of time to find out who he was, to arrest him or do whatever they had to do instead of killing him. I am not against the police. All I ask is justice against these four people who murdered my son. Nothing to justify yet. I have been keeping on asking and asking.
The profile problem maybe is an issue. Maybe I am not familiar because I am not staying in U.S. Maybe they have some kind of places that someone live in, certain areas of the community where you can suspect people like that. Just to see him and say maybe he is a criminal. I am not sure. All I appeal to the Federal Government is to provide whatever they can to prevent this kind of situation again in the future, and not after. It's supposed to be before. Because if this kind of solution were available, my son could have been alive today. We don't want to have any more victims. We pray for peace and justice for everyone, and good communication between the police and the community. I have no hatred against anyone. All I ask is for justice and for solutions to prevent this kind of situation again. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Well, we certainly thank you for your valuable contribution. It is my belief that this horrible thing that happened to your son will not have happened in vain. That out of that tragedy, will come heightened concern about what causes people to act this way, especially in an official capacity. Whether there is some way that the opportunities for that or the motivation for that can be eliminated through training, appropriate training and through selecting the right people to be police officers. So it is a very difficult problem. We know the dimensions of the problem in a rough way. We want to go beyond that. We want to go to what causes people to do things like this, and how can we stop it. So that's why we're having these hearings, out of a concern. We want to listen and learn and not do so much talking, because we don't have the answers. We hope out there somewhere is wisdom that can give us the answers.
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Mr. Conyers, any questions?
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you. I want to thank all the witnesses. This is where we all start off from, but this is not a new subject in criminal jurisprudence. It is an old subject. Police abuse and misconduct has been with me since the first day I got on the Judiciary Committee in the 1960's.
Madame Diallo, our hearts are out to you for your loss, but we are very much encouraged by your determination to make sure that your son and others have not died in vain, to give us your time today and to work in the cause of justice, I think deserves all of our thanks.
Ms. DIALLO. Thank you again. Will you allow me to add something?
Mr. CONYERS. Of course.
Ms. DIALLO. I support whatever ideas you come up with to help you in this direction. With the idea of my son should not die in vain, I am working on a foundation in his name in New York.
Mr. CONYERS. Excellent.
Ms. DIALLO. I need the support of everyone in this.
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Mr. CONYERS. I am glad you had an opportunity to bring that to our attention. We will be looking for more information about it.
Now let me begin with some specific things we can do. Like Officer Hampton, we have been training and retraining police for a century. There is something wrong with the training, and there may also be something else wrong besides just training. Who here hasn't been made familiar with the adage that when a policeman graduates from school, the first thing that he is told when he gets to his initial assignment, forget everything you learned in police school in the police academy, because now you are in the real world.
The silence that includes so many other police officers is a very important barrier. We know, for example, that in racial profiling, which goes on by a few officers in a precinct, that many of the other officers know who is doing it as well, but they are stopped from talking about it. They are not able to come forward. So the police chief usually knows about it as well. It seems to me that this lack of supervision and lack of oversight really needs to be addressed.
We need a strong police community relations committee, a civilian review board in every metropolitan jurisdiction, with subpoena powers, with the rights to be able to make recommendations that will be binding. Of course we have the 48-hour rule.
I would just like to ask you, Chief Gainer, would you object to the 48-hour rule being eliminated if it existed in the jurisdiction that you were in?
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GAINER. What is it you mean?
Mr. CONYERS. The 48-hour rule is that a police officer doesn't have to talk to anybody after a shooting incident until 48 hours, until he gets his story together.
Mr. GAINER. I don't believe that is a universal system across the United States.
Mr. CONYERS. It isn't.
Mr. GAINER. It is not. It is not a universal system.
Mr. CONYERS. No. We are trying to get your recommendation to get rid of it where it exists.
Mr. GAINER. Well, Mr. Conyers, you ask a pretty complicated question. I think that the public and the police authorities and the prosecutors need to have as much information as they can about a particular incident as quickly as possible. We would support, and think it's appropriate to work toward a balance of individual rights, labor contract rights, and the interest of justice to move toward that.
So to the extent, anyone is prohibited from gathering the information they need simply because of some arbitrary number, would seem to be inappropriate.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CONYERS. Thank you. Mr. Pfeifer, where do you come down on this 48-hour rule?
Mr. PFEIFER. Well, Mr. Conyers, I believe the intention of the 48-hour rule is to allow the officers who have used deadly force to consult with counsel. I think anyone in this room who has shot and killed somebody would like to talk to a lawyer before they talk to anybody else. I want to say that many police officers across the country voluntarily give statements without talking to an attorney after being advised by their union representatives and attorneys themselves not to talk to anybody until you have talked to an attorney.
So that is the intent, to allow the officer to have the advice of counsel. I think that is a very important right. It is extended to everyone else in the country. I believe it needs to be extended to police officers.
Mr. CONYERS. Well, it already is. Police officers are the only ones that have the 48-hour rule. A citizen doesn't get a 48-hour rule.
Mr. PFEIFER. A citizen does not have to answer questions. A police officer is subject to both administrative penalties and criminal penalties. Now the order in which that is usually dealt with is it's determined by the police department whether or not there will be criminal penalties assessed. Once that proceeding or that group of proceedings has been concluded, then the officer is subject to administrative penalties. So it's a very complicated process. It is not an easy question to answer.
But I think that what you are getting at is why is a police officer different than anybody else. I don't think they are different. I think that they need to be able to talk to an attorney when they have used deadly force, just like any other citizen.
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Mr. CONYERS. Finally, Officer Hampton, where do you think this 48-hour rule ought to end up? I mean what is your experience with it as a veteran police officer?
Mr. HAMPTON. Congressman, thank you very much. I am not in favor of it of course. I think that it hinders the process in terms of the investigation, in terms of what it is that not only the police department needs, but the team of people who are out there handling it and investigating all of the witnesses and what not. So I would be in favor of, in support of a process whereby the police officer, the individual who was involved in the shooting, could have all the adequate protections of due process and even protection from his administrative process that would unduly burden him, but I wouldn't want him or her to possess any other protection that would hinder the process of trying to get to the bottom of the investigation from the very beginning.
This whole notion that they can have 48 hours, 72 hours, and not say anything to anybody, in my mind to some extent provides cover for them and the opportunity to get their story together. We have seen, as a police officer, I can't speak about nobody else, but as a police officer, I have seen the development of the story and the coverup take place, start to take place at the very same time it goes down. Whether it's a shooting or a simple abuse or allegation of abuse, or use of excessive force or whatever have you, that is the case. Unfortunately those kinds of things have happened and pretty much still continue to happen.
I close with this quotation from Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, who in this very same room said, ''Police perjury in criminal cases, particularly in the context of searches and other exclusionary rule issues, is so pervasive that the former police chief in San Jose and Kansas City has estimated that 'hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officials commit felony perjury every year, testifying about drug arrests alone.' '' I think this is a highly ignored phenomenon that we have to deal with before we can get to the bottom of this problem.
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I think giving more training guidelines is a palliative. That is not the problem of the training. It is the problem of enforcing the rules that come out of the police academies, and to enforce them vigorously, where profiling and misconduct goes on.
Mr. PAPA. If I might just reinforce that point you made. When the Mollen Commission was working in New York City, I wrote a letter to the commission with the specific recommendation that it is perjury that is at the root of all police misconduct, whether it be violence or corruption or anything like that. A very strong policy in the departments against even so-called, you know, ''good'' lying, where they are trying to get an arrest, because it gets them in the habit of lying. A very strong policy that you lose your job if you lie on a form, if you lie on the stand, would go 90 percent of the way toward alleviating all of these problems.
Mr. CONYERS. Well, I thank all of the witnesses for their contribution. I thank you for the time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Hutchinson?
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the witnesses for their participation today. I have been reading some of the testimony that I have not been able to hear personally, and it's been very instructive.
Of course my background is as a Federal prosecutor. I have handled cases in which there has been police brutality. I realize the importance of a proper and thorough investigation, and aggressive civil rights enforcement when it comes to police misconduct, particularly when the conduct might be racially motivated. I think there is a problem that has to be addressed.
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Recently, I was speaking to a town meeting about the need to increase teachers' pay. Someone raised their hand and said well how about law enforcement, pointing out that they have a dangerous job, many times are not appreciated to the extent that they should be, and at the lower end of the pay scale, particularly in the South I know that that is the case.
I think that when you talk about making good decisions, you have got to recruit good people. To recruit good people, you have got to pay adequate salaries. I think that is really a shortcoming. Then you add proper training. Then you add proper investigative techniques. Those are the steps that you have to go through. Every one of them is critical in eliminating the problems.
I noted here in the testimony of Sergeant Pfeifer that he referred to a letter to President Clinton and the Attorney General discussing the need for additional law enforcement training. I think that that certainly is a move in the right direction. This bill is designed to address training and assistance to our law enforcement personnel. But it appears to me, it only focuses on the cities. I think everyone here is concerned about the problems in big city America. Perhaps that is the greatest problem. But we also don't want to forget about rural America.
A significant portion of our violent crime today is committed in rural America. There are two sheriffs in my jurisdiction who have been convicted of police brutality. You know, these are rural areas. So the training has to not just apply to big city America, but also out in the trenches where a significant portion of the crime is found.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have been sponsoring the legislation to help rural law enforcement. We have a rural law enforcement center in Arkansas that is trying to make inroads in training people rurally and I will have a bill that will be introduced in this Congress, Mr. Chairman. I hope that you will take a look at that as far as expanding the need for training, not just in big cities, but also in rural America.
Now let me end with a question. I would like to hear your comments on your experience with the civil rights division of the Department of Justice. They have jurisdiction to investigate whenever there are allegations of police brutality. My experience has been that a lot of complaints that are filed with them are frivolous, and therefore, they have to sort through frivolous complaints to get to a good case that really needs to be pursued. So that is a difficulty. But then it is sort of a bureaucratic area and is difficult to get to them to pursue a case aggressively.
I want to know your experience with the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and whether it is an effective tool in these type of cases or whether there have been any problems. I'll just open it up for two or three comments.
Mr. SHELTON. Yes. We have had discussions with the Civil Rights Division about this very issue. Our biggest concern is the division that actually investigates police misconduct is grossly under-funded. One of the things that we are asking for is additional funding for that division. The big problem is, you are correct in part of your assessment. That is, as to whether they have to go through a number of frivolous complaints. I am sure to some extent, those exist as well. But the problem is, the Justice Department division, which investigates police conduct, is so grossly under-staffed that they are unable to really address the serious concerns throughout the country. So we would like to see greater funding.
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We have also had conversations with Janet Reno about this very same issue. She would like to see them, as we would, become better able to go in immediately when a high profile incident of police misconduct occurs any place in the country, and rapidly respond to the issues on the ground.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First, Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to submit this statement for the record.
Mr. HYDE. Without objection, so ordered.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nadler follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. JERROLD NADLER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this hearing today, and I hope it is the first in a series of hearings to carefully review this very serious problem.
The brutal acts of some police officers and the allegation of systemic bias within police departments nationwide must be addressed in order to restore trust between citizensespecially minority communities and law enforcement. The vast majority of the nearly 700,000 law enforcement officers across the country work very hard and very properly everyday in a dangerous profession. They put their lives on the line to ensure public safety and to pursue justice. They are owed a debt of gratitude from all of us, and we owe it to them especially, to confront seriously police misconduct and take action immediately to prevent a few brutal individuals from besmirching the reputations of the police generally.
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There is a growing national outcry against abuse of citizens at the hands of the police. That outcry has grown exponentially after the tragic killing of Amadou Diallo. I notice Mr. Diallo's mother is here with us today and my heart goes out to her and her family. Tragically, there has been a pattern of police abuse in communities of people of color from my own New York City to Riverside, California. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn has analyzed the New York City Street Crime Unit's 45,000 stops and searches, more than 36,000 of which did not lead to an arrest. This Committee has a responsibility to protect civil liberties and to work to ensure that our nation's law enforcement officers do not invade people's civil liberties in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo is only the latest in a series of incidents that raise disturbing questions about police procedures and their use of unjustified force. The many condemnations we hear of outrageous incidents of police brutality are not sufficient. We must take action to correct the systemic problems that lead to such brutality and to the routine harassment of people of color by police officers.
Parents should never fear that their children are in danger because of the police, but in some communities parents must worry about that every day. African-Americans should not have to worry that they may be pulled over by the police simply because they are driving while black. And yet, we all know that racial profiling occurs. I am an original co-sponsor of Rep. Conyers' bill simply to document racial profiling in traffic stops. At the very least, we ought to gather this information, so that we can grasp the scope of the problem and take action to correct it. We can pass this bill today, and we should.
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We should also require the creation of civilian review boards and take measures to improve minority recruitment, end the code of silence that conceals police misconduct, and aggressively prosecute brutality and misconduct. I am hopeful that some of our witnesses today will address these issues.
We also need to work on training. The Serrano/Hyde bill is a first step in this direction.
As the Attorney General has noted, the crime rate has fallen every year for the past six years in virtually every category. Good policing has contributed greatly to that drop. But bad policing by overly aggressive or brutal police officers who ignore the civil liberties of Americans cannot be tolerated.
That is why we are here today. As the Attorney General has recommended, every law-enforcement agency should have a complaint process so people can report incidents without fear. Departments must ensure that there is sufficient funding and staffing to pursue each complaint in a timely manner. And officers and agents must be disciplined when a complaint has been sustained.
Law enforcement officers must never be tolerant of misconduct by fellow officers, and it must be unacceptable to keep silent about such misconduct.
Finally, we must be more aggressive in our efforts to reduce gun violence. Over the last decade, 688 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, 633 with firearms. The easy availability of guns in our society and the proliferation of assault weapons increases crime, threatens our communities, and forces our police officers into dangerous situations. The fact that nearly every suspect may be armed, may actually contribute to aggressive policing, misconduct, and abuse. Strong gun control measures will protect our police officers and our citizens.
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We must not allow another tragedy to occur before we take action. Failure to act will further fuel widespread resentment and will exacerbate tensions. It was not long ago that the country was torn apart by a police brutality case in Los Angeles. These acts undermine the credibility and effectiveness of our law enforcement officers, most of whom are fine individuals who risk their lives every day to serve our communities.
Congress must take a more active role and encourage the Justice Department to deal firmly with systematic violations of the constitutional rights of our citizens by law enforcement officers. I hope today we are taking the first step of many to address this national crisis.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.
Mr. NADLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I simply want to extend my appreciation first to you since Mr. Scott, Mr. Watt and I came to you back in March and asked for a hearing on this subject. I am particularly pleased that you have called this hearing. I want to extend my appreciation to you, and, of course, also to express my regret at the terrible events with Amadou Diallo.
I want to direct some questions to Mr. Papa. Now you were riding in a car with a black friend and were suddenly stopped by two police officers?
Mr. PAPA. No. It was a whole gang of them.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NADLER. Oh, a whole group of police officers in two cars?
Mr. PAPA. Yes.
Mr. NADLER. And they simply opened fire?
Mr. PAPA. No. They jumped out of their cars with their guns out and ordering us out of the car, cursing at us. We thought they were thugs. We didn't get out of the car. They opened fire on us.
Mr. NADLER. Now did they have any reason to suspect you other than the fact that there was a black person and a white person in the car?
Mr. PAPA. That's pretty suspicious, don't you think?
Mr. NADLER. Was there any other reason?
Mr. PAPA. No.
Mr. NADLER. Okay. They made charges against you. The charges were dropped. Then did you press a complaint with the civilian review board?
Mr. PAPA. Actually we didn't, because, at the time, we decided it was such an open and shut case for criminal charges against these guys and administrative discipline, that a civilian complaint review board would have been superfluous. Plus, at the time, the CCRB was kind of useless in New York City.
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Mr. NADLER. Now in 1990, you got a civil verdict of $76 million?
Mr. PAPA. I wish I had gotten all the money too.
Mr. NADLER. And in 1990, New York City turned down your offer to use some of the proceeds from that verdict to fund programs aimed at improving police-community relations?
Mr. PAPA. Under a Democratic mayor, I might add, yes.
Mr. NADLER. What reason?
Mr. PAPA. I make that point because this is such a deep problem in our society.
Mr. NADLER. What reason was given? Why did they say they turned it down?
Mr. PAPA. They didn't have to give a reason.
Mr. NADLER. They didn't give any reason?
Mr. PAPA. No.
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Mr. NADLER. They didn't say there is no such problem or something?
Mr. PAPA. They just said no.
Mr. NADLER. All right. Now when you tried to have this prosecuted, you say the district attorney refused to prosecute?
Mr. PAPA. I went crazy trying to get this prosecuted. You know, when it happened to me, I turned down publicity when it happened. John Miller, who is on NBC, he was the crime reporter in the city. He called me the day after I got out of jail. He wanted to put it on TV. I said, ''No, John. I am a lawyer. I am going to do this the right way. We are going to go through the courts.'' Of course, a few months later, I realized nothing was happening.
Mr. NADLER. Were you ever given a reason by the DA why they didn't prosecute?
Mr. PAPA. No. As a matter of fact, she misled us into believing that she was going to have them indicted by the grand jury. Instead she had the grand jury release a report. There was never a No True Bill issued.
Mr. NADLER. There was never a what?
Mr. PAPA. A No True Bill issued. She just had them not
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Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, could I ask Mr. Nadler for an interruption? Madame Diallo has to leave now, and she wanted to take her leave without you thinking that she was violating any of our rules.
We thank you very much.
Mr. NADLER. We thank you indeed.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you very much.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you for yielding.
Mr. PAPA. She had the grand jury issue a report instead of voting on an indictment.
Mr. NADLER. And the report said?
Mr. PAPA. It was garbage. It was a whitewash. She said it was all a training problem and they issued recommendationsand it was a great wonderful thing the grand jury did, because now they are going to put on vests
Mr. NADLER. And did you approach, did anyone approach the Federal Government for civil rights prosecution?
Page 162 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PAPA. Yes. We did.
Mr. NADLER. What happened?
Mr. PAPA. We went to the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn. I came down here to Washington and met with whoever was like the number two person in that area in Justice at the time. As a matter of fact, I got my letter from them finally saying they would not prosecute about 5 days before the Rodney King beating.
Mr. NADLER. Before what?
Mr. PAPA. The Rodney King beating.
Mr. NADLER. And did they give a reason for that?
Mr. PAPA. They didn't have enough evidence. Their attitude was, no matter what kind of a lie the police said, if it were true, even though it was a lie, if it were true and it would expulcate them, then no jury would convict them.
Mr. NADLER. Except a civil jury did make a major finding.
Mr. PAPA. The civil jury was scared of them. They actually said in the Times they were scared of the police on the stand.
Mr. NADLER. Let me ask a different question. We have a bill here which this hearing is about to have a commission to look into all this. Could you suggest beyond a commission, what could be done? You are familiar with the fact we have a so-called civilian complaint review board in New York. You are familiar with the fact that under procedures in New York, the civilian complaint review board simply finds there is a substantial cause, I think is the phrase they use, to believe that the police behaved improperly or there isn't, and that when they find substantial cause, they refer this to the police commissioner for further proceedings. And you are familiar with the fact that police commissioner proceeds further when they have actually90 percent of the time they find no substantial cause, and 10 percent of the time when they do find substantial cause, the police commission does nothing in about 80 or 90 percent of those cases.
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What do you think this committee or this Congress or the State of New York could do to cut down on this problem, and to make sure that police officers who abused their uniforms in one of two ways. I really think there are two aspects of the problem, but it's not the same. One is the brutality. The Amadou Diallo incident, your incident, that's plain brutality. Brutality and crime. There's another aspect which is also troubling, which is also illustrated by your case, which is simply racial profiling and stopping people repeatedly, harassing people without being brutal about it, just harassing them as they go about their business for no other reason than a black person driving in the wrong neighborhood, in someone's perception.
What do you think we can do about this to stop this from happening, both of these?
Mr. PAPA. Let me just take one thing at a time. As far as the civilian complaint review board situation, I know a lot of people are strongly in favor of that, and it's an idea here coming up all the time. I am not against them. I am not against them, but I really think that they are, in the end, a band-aid. I really don't think they solve the problem.
Mr. NADLER. What do you think would solve it?
Mr. PAPA. I think there are two things that solve the problem. The first thing, this is where I appeal to my Republican friends especially, is we need a fundamental change of attitude in the country, a fundamental consensus that police must be an extension of the community. If it's ingrained in the people's heads, and we get rid of this us against them kind of attitude, now you are 50 percent of the way home.
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There's room for both sides on that. There is room on one side, the white people's side, to begin to understand the problem and listen to people who can explain itlike I couldn't understand it before it happened to me. On the other hand, there's room on the other side. Certainly there are leaders, not in this room, who prey on the issue for political advantage and act like it's the biggest problem facing the black community. Although it's a big horror, it's certainly not the biggest problem facing them. I think they would prefer to have the issue than the solution. So we need a fundamental consensus on what's proper behavior for police.
Then, as far as specific recommendations, and this was where I hoped that this commission envisioned by this bill can be helpful, I think what you need isIt is appropriate for Congress to be involved in this. I am a Republican, States' rights kind of guy, but this is something for Congress to be involved in because it is a basic constitutional issue. I think the Justice DepartmentI forget which one of these two fellows, I think it was you, who said itit is very important that Justice have a unit within it that can rapidly respond when something happens in New York City or in some rural area like, Congressman Hutchinson was talking about, and can help them with the investigation and the tools to get it done.
Mr. HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. NADLER. May I ask unanimous consent for two additional minutes?
Mr. HYDE. Without objection.
Page 165 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PAPA. That unit could also thenI think the second thing that can happen at the national level is funding, whatever funding already exists. I am not in favor of more funding. Whatever funding already exists can depend upon that same unit in Justice, perhaps, doing audits, you know, in other words having a finger on the pulse, having criteria that departments have to follow and meet in terms of not having these kinds of problems, or they don't get the funds.
The last thing that I am very much in favor of, although I would want to study it more, is I think every State should have something like what New York State once had, a special prosecutor, a prosecutor specifically charged with this type of problem, with police crimes and police misconduct. Thank you.
Mr. NADLER. I will yield back. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. I thank the gentleman. Before recognizing Mr. Rogan, I just want to comment to Mr. Papa and the panel, we have, you have, we all have a tough problem. The problem is this. Recruiting policemen, you want to recruit aggressive people. You don't want people who are shrinking violets, who are you know, more comfortable on the ballet stage than in the back alley. You want aggressive, tough people, fearless people, people who will go get that mad dog that's loose in your garage and not hide. So you want a type.
At the same time, you want that person to have restraint. The two may be incompatible, but through training, through education, through experience, you might be able to bring a proper amount of restraint so that you can show that to be strong, sometimes is to be restrained, not necessarily to let it all hang out. But bringing that person along so that they retain that aggressiveness necessary to do the job, the tough dirty life-threatening job that a policeman has to do, and at the same time, exercise restraint in these situations that can be very provocative, very provocative, and we all know that too. That is what we are looking for.
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Maybe we are looking for psychological profiling, and I don't know that we should have much confidence in that, of applicants, so that you get the right person who has this ability to follow these two tracks, of being restrained and disciplined at the same time appropriately aggressive. But this calls for a sort of heroism from these folks. We ask a lot of our policemen. When they fail, we look for answers. That's what we're doing.
But recruiting, it seems to me, is very important. There are people who should never be policemen. There are people who never should have a gun, never should have a badge. They take this authority and it's like, well, what was it, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. They want to exercise that power. Other people, as I say, we want people who will be fearless, who will be aggressive, but who will have that marvelous capacity to be restrained. That's hard. That's hard, but that is where you all come in. That is where the training comes in, and the supervision, and the monitoring, and the proper recruitment. These are all tough jobs. Yet we have studied this problem. We have studied it until we are purple in the face, but we haven't gotten the answer as to how does somebody balance those necessary qualities, and how do we find them, and how do we encourage them to serve in our police department.
Mr. CONYERS. Chairman Hyde?
Mr. HYDE. Yes, sir.
Mr. CONYERS. Could I just before I excuse myself, point out that you have completely misperceived the nature of the problem. The violence that comes out of the police force are from police officers who have flagrantly, deliberately violated all of the training, all of the codes, all of the academic studies, all of the restrictions. These aren't fearless and aggressive people. These are people that are way over the line.
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Mr. HYDE. People who never should have been on the police force in the first place. Had they been screened earlier, they wouldn't have been in that situation.
Mr. CONYERS. No question that screening is an incredibly important part.
Mr. HYDE. That's my point.
Mr. CONYERS. That is what we are trying to do. But ballet dancers don't make it through police school. I mean I think for you to be worrying about non-violent people getting through and getting out there, most police officers never draw their gun, never use their gun during their whole career.
Mr. PAPA. I think I can settle this dispute between you two guys, because there is no dispute. You both are on the same page and maybe don't even realize it.
Mr. CONYERS. That's what they always say.
Mr. HYDE. I recognize it. I don't think Mr. Conyers does.
Mr. CONYERS. I recognized he was in error and that's what I wanted to correct.
Mr. PAPA. The problem with training
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Mr. HYDE. I don't even bother to respond, but go ahead, Mr. Papa.
Mr. PAPA. The problem with training is we don't realize just how inadequate it is. Most cops, I think in New York City they get 6 months. Six months and then they send them out there at 20-years-old, 22-years-old, 23-years-old, into these life and death situations that, as you say, that are almost impossible
Mr. HYDE. The quality of the training, the situations you find yourself in and how you react.
Mr. PAPA. It needs to be longer.
Mr. HYDE. But recruitment is an essential part of the problem.
Mr. HAMPTON. Can I suggest this? I would like to offer this as maybe just a peep into the room. The mayor of Houston has said for a long time in his police career that one of the solutions to recruiting people in policing was based on the methodology that police used in the identification of recruitment of people.
In other words, for example, policing should be involved in the recruitment of people in the spirit of service. That is if they want their police officers to be service providers. We are suffering through this dilemma in policing now. We haven't decided whether we want our police officers to be enforcers or service providers. But we also are saying we want them to be community-oriented police officers. The philosophy says if you are a community-oriented police officer, then you are a service provider, a problem solver. If you are, then that's what we need to be doing.
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But traditional policing and the dilemma that's created have policing constantly and continually recruiting in the spirit of adventure. What happens is that this build-up, this bravado build-up that takes place in these individuals creates the frustration that they generate on the street because the reality is, is that policing is providing service to people. It is not about doing all of the things that
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Excuse me. Could I interrupt just for a minute, Mr. Chairman? Just for a minute?
I have an amendment on the floor and didn't want to leave this hearing without indicating that I am leaving, not because I'm not interested. I hope you will still be going on, but the amendment is being called up right now. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. Very well. We will reluctantly spare you.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I know you will. I am going to try and get back, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. HAMPTON. Lastly, this is it. Individuals that go in police departments, whether they spend 6 months, 6 weeks, or 26 days, for example, they get trained in how to be a police officer and all the rules and regulations and things that pertain to what they do all day or will be doing. They get that information. So then they go on the street and do it.
I have never, ever read a report on the part of a police officer who used his service weapon, who committed excessive force, went beyond any set of violations, who in his report, in his statement said that he violated the very rules and regulations of the police department on the way to doing what he did. In other words, if an officer uses his weapon, in his or her statement, one of the things that they are trained to put in the statement is that I used my weapon in defense of my life or some life or some citizen of the District of Columbia. They put that in there. They are trained, the training process educates them to the point that they put it in there, and compare the situation that they were involved in to the circumstances that are included in the general order.
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I am willing to bet you that there is no individual on any police department that has ever said that they used that weapon or excessive force and it wasn't in the line of duty in an attempt to protect themselves or some other citizens of the city of wherever they work in. So it's not the training. We train them and they do exactly what the training tells them to do. I have never ever witnessed a police officer violate the training. In L.A., they didn't train people to do what they did to Rodney King. They didn't train people to do what they did in the Diallo case. But the rules are written in a way that they can adjust the reality of the incident to the reality of the rules, and then be justified in the behavior in which they committed the offense in.
In policing, we have to be wise enough to be able to recognize what is wrong and then do something about it. If you are a supervisor, if you are an executive and then if they don't do it, then what we ought to do is get rid of the police, the supervisor, and the executive, and be done.
Mr. HYDE. The gentleman from California, Mr. Rogan.
Mr. ROGAN. Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing. I thank all the witnesses for their testimony today. I especially want to thank Mr. Papa and Madam Diallo. We see a lot of witnesses that have to come and share their opinions on many things, but very rarely do we meet witnesses such as these who must share a very painful memoryone very difficult to relive, especially in front of Members of Congress and national television cameras. So I thank them for their testimony.
Page 171 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also want to thank our colleague from Michigan, Mr. Conyers, who has highlighted during his years in Congress something that is a very real problem, and it's a problem that affects us as a society in many different ways, some which are obvious and some which are not quite as obvious.
I spent 10 years as a DA and as a judge in Los Angeles County. I can tell you, having worked with a number of police agencies, that Mr. Conyers is absolutely right. He said earlier that most police officers are good and decent men and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect us every day. That is the truth.
It is also true that those very good and decent men and women who do that on a daily basis spend an inordinate amount of their time trying to build up trust and respect within the communities that they police. It only takes one rogue officer to take years of respect that has been built up, and have it decimated. That is very chilling. Police officers as a whole don't benefit when a rogue officer on the force is out beating people, or stopping people with no just cause. The whole force is affected in a negative way.
When a horrible situation occurs, and with the predictable and justifiable public outcry that comes with it, we see another chilling aspect. That impacts long after the television cameras stop running. We see police officers who will happen upon potential trouble, look out the window, want to be proactive, be prepared to step out of a car and place themselves in harm's way, and then begin to ask themselves this question: Will I be sued? Will I be second guessed? Will I somehow face some administrative hearing for simply trying to do my job? Then they just keep driving and they don't interpose themselves between potential trouble and the people that they are designed to protect.
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I remember after the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles County. I was on the bench. I was a criminal court judge. For months and months after that, I talked to a lot of sergeants, lieutenants, captains and patrol cops. Many of them were telling me the same thing. This wasn't coming just from one department. It was coming from many departments. They were relating to me how many times they saw potential trouble on the street and some officers just didn't stop their car because they were concerned about these aspects I just mentioned.
This is the delicate balance that we have to face, and that I think the chairman spoke about so eloquently. We benefit as a society when we have the best trained and the finest men and women in law enforcement, and the pain that is inflicted and the pain that we feel as a society when we fail in that regard is something that many carry. It's really about abuse of power.
Police officers are officers of the government, but they are not the only officers of the government. We have many officers of the government. Every time we place someone in a position of trust, there is the potential for abuse. That is why I think this bill is important, and that is why I think these issues need to be highlighted. Although we don't always agree on many policy issues, I commend the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers, for his thoughtful advocacy. I think that, Mr. Chairman, you have done a service in calling these hearings and in proposing the legislation.
Mr. CONYERS. Will the distinguished gentleman yield for a moment?
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGAN. I am more than happy to yield to my friend.
Mr. CONYERS. I want to thank you for what I know is a thoughtful exercise here, but please consider with me that every police officer that looks the other way isn't always trying to avoid a lawsuit. Some of them don't want their job in the inner city community. Some of them don't even want to work, period. Some of them are on the way to a coffee break.
I mean you know that as one that has been a former prosecutor. It's not the fear of being punished for doing the right thing. It's because they know in the real world of their work, they are going by the first maxim they ever heard when they got out of the police academy, ''Forget everything you learned and were trained, now do it like we do it in this precinct.'' That's led more good police down the wrong road than anything I have ever heard of. I thank you for yielding.
Mr. ROGAN. I thank the gentleman for his comments, Mr. Chairman. I know that there are those rare folks in police work who feel that way. There are also those rare prosecutors who feel the same way. Dare I say it, there are even Members of Congress who approach their duties in that irresponsible fashion.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HYDE. I wish the gentleman wouldn't look at me when he makes that remark. [Laughter.]
Page 174 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WATERS. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. The gentlelady from California is next.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and members. I suspect that protocol dictates that I should thank you and the ranking member for this hearing. While I sincerely believe that you and Mr. Serrano honestly believe that you are contributing in an important way and that you are doing something about this problem, I am disgusted.
I have been working on police abuse and brutality for over 20-something years. I have worked with Mr. Conyers long before I came to Congress as he traveled around the country on this issue, heading up the brain trust. I have been working out in Los Angeles since the killing of a woman named Yula Love that was shot down on her porch by Los Angeles police officers because they were trying to enforce a policy by the local gas company to cut off her gas, despite the fact she had no money to pay.
I don't need to remind people of what happened in 1965 with the Deadwiler case that's often referred to as the Watts Riots. Nor do I need to remind you of the rebellion that took place following Rodney King. Nor do I need to tell you that in Riverside right today, people are protesting the killing of Taisha Miller. Nor do I need to tell you about the killing of Mr. Charles Vine up in Seaside, California, who was a marginally retarded man that's been killed.
I checked with my local city attorney yesterday to find out how many cases are settled at L.A. City Attorney's Office of Police Abuse. He said approximately 200 per year. Of course you know we have statistics that show only 13 percent of the police brutality cases are reported. People don't even feel they can get justice. We hear about the highlighted cases of excessive force and police brutality and the killings that take place.
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So, you know, I have gone through this long enough to say to you that I am not particularly excited about H.R. 1659 because I have been there, done that.
Let me just ask is there anybody represented here today who is in a police department who does not have the kind of training that we are describing?
Mr. Chief Gainer, is it?
Mr. GAINER. Yes. Chief Gainer.
Ms. WATERS. Don't you already train? I mean okay, we have a Christopher Commission report. Have you ever heard about that in Los Angeles?
Mr. GAINER. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. WATERS. How many of you have heard about it? Have you read it?
Mr. GAINER. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. WATERS. It goes beyond this, doesn't it? I mean it really talks aboutI mean if you don't have one, all you have got to do is get a copy of this and just do it. Right? I mean do you not do this kind of stuff, I mean given what has happened already?
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Mr. GAINER. Can I respond, ma'am?
Ms. WATERS. Yes. Just quickly.
Mr. GAINER. I think a lot of the police departments are trying to hire properly, train differently, and supervise appropriately. Some of the gentlemen here today talked about the old model of hiring and recruiting and training and the new model. There have been mixed signals over the years about what type of police officer we wanted to hire, and what the standards are to which we train that police officer.
We are in the midst of changing our standards because we have gone from a very reactive law enforcement society to one that is much more proactive and preventive in measure.
Ms. WATERS. Okay.
Mr. GAINER. I do believe that this bill is a legitimate attempt to try to establish some best practices as we have asked the Justice Department to do.
I have been a police officer for 31 years myself, in three different jurisdictions. From a police officer, to the head of the Illinois State Police, to here. Over those 31 years, I am constantly learning new things.
I harken back to something my father told me long ago. That was to try and fail is to learn, but to fail to try is to suffer the insurmountable knowledge of never knowing what might have been. I really do think this bill tries to get law enforcement and the community to think differently on how we do our job. That is a pretty straight-forward proposal, from my point of view.
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Ms. WATERS. All right. Well, I do appreciate that. Let me just say I come from the police brutality capital of the world, Los Angeles. Let me just say I think things are better under this chief, Chief Parks. But I come from a place where I have seen all of the police chiefs from Parker on down through Parks. I confronted Darryl Gates more times than I can remember. He turned out to be the kind of police chief who it didn't matter what kind of laws you have. He was at the head and the signals came from the head. Police did what they could get away with.
I guess what I am saying to you is this. I cannot believe that any reasonably intelligent police department, having gone through what we have gone through in this country and particularly looking at what has happened in Los Angeles, does not have the kind of training, does not have the kind of community interaction, does not have the kind of criteria for selection that they should have to get rid of police abuse and misconduct by 1999. I don't think that this bill is going to help at all if police departments don't get it yet. If they don't get it, something else is going on here.
For those on the opposite side of the aisle, who point to the Justice Department and talk about what they could or could not do, I would like to remind them of the backlog of cases. I would like to remind them of our inability to confirm Bill Lann Lee, the assistant attorney for Civil Rights. I would like to advise them of the amount of money that's needed as they do their work on pattern and practices.
So I am putting the blame on everybody. This Congress ought to be ashamed of itself, literally ashamed of itself, that we go through this year-in and year-out, and every big case provides opportunity for yet another hearing. Then we come up with a band-aid. We could do something about police, civilian review boards. We should be dealing with taking away funding from police departments that just fail to recognize the rights of the citizens of their cities and their towns. We could get rid of the 48-hour protection period. We could do all of those things. It shouldn't have to be done from the Federal level. It should be done within the States.
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Now I want you to know that you can pass this and any other piece of band-aid legislation that you want. It is not going to stop police brutality and misconduct. We need to have some real penalties, some real penalties that would deter anybody from using the badge and the gun to violate people's basic rights. I think that's the greatest sin that could be committed, to have a badge and a gun and the authority of the badge and gun to violate a human being by beating him the way Rodney King was beat, or by killing in the way that others have been killed.
So I am here at this hearing today out of respect for those of you who came to give your time one more time to a hearing and a band-aid piece of legislation that does nothing to solve the problem. Again, I do believe that Mr. Hyde and Mr. Serrano believe that they are doing something good and wonderful, and perhaps this will be a deterrent, but I wish they would listen to those of us who have been on this track for so many years. I wish they could have marched with us in Los Angeles as we worked for years to get rid of Darryl Gates. I wish they could be at the point of these mothers and fathers.
I wish they, you know, just to understand what happened in Riverside, with the woman who is sitting in the car locked comatose, and police officers who can't find a way through a bullhorn or anything else to get her attention, and shoot her down in front of her relatives, who called them in the first place for protection.
Mr. HYDE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. WATERS. Please. Unanimous consent for two more minutes. I can't stop now.
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Mr. HYDE. Without objection.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much. I appreciate it so much.
Mr. HYDE. You're welcome.
Ms. WATERS. Then if any of us could imagine the horror of parents and relatives watching their kin being gunned down or the thought that unarmed citizens are shot down without provocation, then we would want to go a lot further than we are going today. It is time for America to do something about this tragedy. It is a tragedy that the people that we pay to protect and serve, and not all officers, let me say that. Even though those in their right minds would know that no one sitting here believes that all officers are like that. But let me say it in case people go out and say Maxine Waters does not respect police officers. I certainly do. I think there are some decent ones and some good ones. As a matter of fact, the police chief in Los Angeles is one of my dearest friends. So I do respect police officers.
But I want to tell you the bad ones, the rotten apples are really, really placing a blot on this Nation. I want the police departments themselves to step up to the plate and come and tell us what to do about bad officers. I want some real thought given to how we not only do everything that we can to keep them off the force, but I want the collusion of silence to stop from the very top, to talk about what we do to punish, to deter the violation of human beings by police departments so that we won't keep going over this and coming out with some lightweight legislation to talk about
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HYDE. The gentlelady's time has again expired.
Ms. WATERS. Good. No, I don't want any more time. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. I would suggest to the gentlelady that she'll have an opportunity to offer amendments and to put flesh and bone on the band-aid that she seems to think this legislation is.
Ms. WATERS. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would suggest to you that you and others will not take what I have to offer.
Mr. HYDE. Your time has expired, Madam.
Ms. WATERS. Yes, I know, but since you referred to me and what I can do. Of course I know what I can do, I'm a legislator.
Mr. HYDE. That's right. I'm the chairman and you're not.
Ms. WATERS. If I thought I could get your support, I would offer a substantive amendment, but I know I can't.
Mr. HYDE. Without objection, the statement of Clarence N. Wood, chairman, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and president of the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago, who was unable to be here today, will be admitted into the record.
Page 181 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Wood follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CLARENCE N. WOOD, CHAIRMAN, CITY OF CHICAGO COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS AND PRESIDENT, THE HUMAN RELATIONS FOUNDATION OF CHICAGO
Good Morning, Chairman Hyde and members of the Committee on the Judiciary. I am Clarence Wood, Chairman of the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and President of The Human Relations Foundation of Chicago.
First, let me say that I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and to share my thoughts about H.R. 1659, The National Police Training Commission Act. Secondly, I want to emphasize that I speak today as the President of The Human Relations Foundation of Chicago, not as a representative of the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations.
Let me begin by placing the work of The Foundation in an historical context. In the summer of 1988, The Chicago Community Trust created the Human Relations Task Force to consider . . . ''the causes of, and possible solutions for, the ethnic and racial unrest'' . . . that then characterized much of Chicago's public life. The Task Force's report in September 1989 concluded: racism infects every issue of legitimate community concern from education to housing to economic development. It drains dollars and goodwill that might be used to enhance Chicago as a world class city. The report went on 10 remind people that despite governmental investment of millions of dollars in new agencies, new laws, and new projects, spatial segregation and discrimination remained commonplace in both the city and nation.
The Human Relations Foundation of Chicago was established in 1990 and charged with stimulating efforts to combat racism using the extant structures of our society. Throughout its brief history, the work of the Foundation has centered on dialogue . . . on bringing all parties involved in disputes to the table for conversation. Utilizing the tools of the social worker and psychologist, the Foundation brings people together; listens; questions; intervenes; and separates issues of social justice from those of prejudice and discrimination.
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Our work over nearly a decade suggests that tensions among people based on misunderstanding and discomfort with ''others'' too often diminish organizations' abilities to achieve success. And, in a society where ''others '' categories appear to be growing, tensions are exacerbated. Unfortunately, this is increasingly the reality in police community relations in this nation, Police officers, their departments, and their unions have an expectation of unquestioning respect and civility from the citizenry. And, yet, all too frequently, these agents of the community demonstrate little respect for and civility toward residents.
Over the past two decades, government, organizations and agencies have spent millions of dollars on various management tools, strategies, and technical training to enhance ''sensitivity to the cultures, practices, and traditions of others.'' Despite the growth of a cottage industry of ''diversity trainers,'' the management of interpersonal relationships among people and established agencies/organizations with perceived differences has not improved appreciably. No where is the failure of these approaches more apparent than in the growing schism between law enforcement officials and communities they serve. Recent events in New York, California, and Pennsylvania attest to the growing ''us and them'' mentality that permeates both law enforcement and community.
It is my belief that any national initiative focused on police training must be grounded in a conceptual framework designed to increase respect for and civility between those insured with guaranteeing safety and tranquility and the populace at large. Within this framework, four primary objectives must be achieved, namely:
1. eroding the traditional ''us against them, good guys against bad guys'' culture that too often permeates law enforcement agencies and the environments in which training occurs;
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2. creating new contexts for discussion and navigation of perceived cultural and economic differences;
3. introducing and reinforcing human relations skillse. g., listening, questioning negotiating, creating opportunities for compromise to improve intercultural communications; and
4. re-establishing respect for the individual without regard to color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, gender and the other obstacles that have been nurtured by marketers, politicians, and the media over the past several decades.
Destruction of the culture of ''us versus them '' that so often permeates police departments and the training they provide their officers and civilian employees seems to be a relatively easy issue to address. Training on technical issues such as how to shoot a weapon, disarm a suspect, or secure crime scene evidence should remain within the province of police departments and/or former, experienced law enforcement officers, The technical expertise and experience of these individuals must be respected. Simultaneously, we must recognize that current and former law enforcement officers are often the most resistance to change in terms of the ''us verses them'' syndrome and are not the appropriate resources for structuring change within the law enforcement culture. The traditional practice of utilizing current or former law enforcement officers to train or retrain police men does little except perpetuate the current, discriminatory practices against the ''others '' and the poor, We must seek alternatives that bring human relations practitioners and organizations into on-going relationships with law enforcement. And, we must design effective mechanisms to measure the on-going efficacy of these nontraditional relations.
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A society composed of diverse populations demands new definitions that challenge myths and stereotypes. Interpersonal (and group)relations must move beyond political correctness, tribal behavior, and the reliance on the ''that's how we've always done it'' comfort. Police departments and other law enforcement agencies must be held accountable for: (1)examinations of the role(s)of different cultures in society at large and within their organizations; (2)recognition of the tenacity to categorize and stereotype all human behavior; (3)acknowledgment of the power of myth and stereotype in shaping responses to others; and (4)acknowledgement of the practices that reinforce societal stereotypes; and (5)their active role in perpetuation of unequal treatment of others based on traditional perceptions.
By holding police departments and law enforcement agencies to defined, articulated standards of acceptable behavior, we can begin to diminish the negative attitudes and distancing behaviors that have complicated relationships between them and communities. And, new toolse, g., human relations skillscan be introduced and reinforced in the traditional law enforcement culture. These skills are not unknown to law enforcement. For example, those trained to handle hostage negotiation situations have been schooled in the listening, diffusing tensions through verbal and nonverbal communication techniques, and testing a variety of conflict resolution techniques, The conceptual framework of their training reinforces the concept of utilizing a variety of strategies prior to the introduction of force to achieve a peaceful resolution. One wonders why these or comparable training techniques are not utilized in the preparation of all police and law enforcement officer before community assignments.
In our society, authority figurese.g., teachers, preachers doctors, law enforcement officershave come to believe that they do not have to engage their students, parishioners, patientsin the resolution process, Generally, they have not learned to listen, negotiate, and/or work toward the resolution of differences. Rather, they have been led to believe that they know what is best for the rest of us. Too often, they do not adopt or adhere to the expectationsopen mindedness, courtesywhich govern relationships within communities. Their culture suggests and reinforces the belief that somehow they stand outside and/or beyond the constraints that govern the lives and behaviors of other people.
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Mr. Chairman, it is my belief that MY initiative directed to diminishing the tension between the police and community should have multiple emphases, namely: police boards and/or other governing mechanisms; departmental management and supervisory personnel; local district officers; and the patrol men and women who are most closely involved with residents.
While much attention has been focused on the civilian volunteer and police administration in terms of training, it is my firm belief that the street officer the one in harm's way and in contact with neighborhood residents should be the primary focus of any national effort to reshape attitudes and behaviors. These officers must be the vanguard for reshaping the internal culture of the police establishment. Their initial training must focus, simultaneously, on traditional policing techniques and development of human relations skill sets that will enable them to more effectively acknowledge and respect the diversity of the communities they are charged with serving and protecting. And, concomitantly, these officers must be energized to bring into the workplacethe local law enforcement agencya commitment to revising the prevailing ''us versus them'' culture.
Finally, if a National Police Training Commission is authorized, it is my considered opinion that we must reach far beyond the traditional sourceslaw enforcement professionals, academics, community activists, diversity consultants, and the likefor input in the design and implementation of training protocols, standards, curriculum, and evaluation techniques, Recent history suggests that a comprehensive range of attitudes, experiences, and &ills must be engaged if we are to close the growing schism between police and community in the 21st Century.
Page 186 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HYDE. I want to thank every one of you for the time you have devoted to this. This is only the beginning. We're not there. We don't have the final legislation. We are looking for answers, and we are going to listen. I never learned anything while I was talking, but while I am listening, I can learn something. I think you have all made a contribution.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to say that the one thing that may have come out of this legislative effort is the fact that we were able to get together and have this public statement, these public statements which are so important. I think that from here, without regard to the legislative aspect, that the discussion be continued, and that maybe we can listen and learn and begin to move somewhere.
I was very impressed by a number of the witnesses' testimony here today. I thank you very much.
Mr. HYDE. So was I. I thank you. The committee stands adjourned.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. Oh dear. [Laughter.]
Mr. HYDE. We'll re-open and listen, recognize the gentlelady from Houston.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, your ''oh dear'' I'm sure was in celebration.
Mr. HYDE. It was indeed. It was an expression of joy. Please, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I think the dashing that I did to the floor of the House on the Y2K and my return hopefully is an indication of the respect I have for the panel and the importance of this issue.
As I catch my breath, let me respond to, I think, the point that was made about a rift between community and police. Albeit we are a Nation of laws and a Nation that should abide by the Constitution, but having celebrated Mother's Day just this week, let me refer you to the mothers of Amadou Diallo, the mother of Pedro Oregon from Houston, Texas, and the mother of that young woman in Riverside, California.
I do want to say to Mr. Hampton, you mentioned the mayor, my mayor, Mayor Lee Brown. You well know that he is also or has been the founder or creator or contributor to community oriented policing, the concept of ensuring that the community and the police are intertwined in a positive manner. Our Chief Bradford, who has followed in his footsteps, continues that trend. In Houston we have neighborhood-oriented police stations. There are a lot of things that we can do.
I hope that this commission that the chairman is offering through his legislation is one that will get down to work. I see that it will end 180 days after it has been commissioned. That means it will get down to work.
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I hope that this committee will take up the legislation of driving while black and brown. I hope that we will find an immediate response to the question of a rift, which is tragic in a society that relies so heavily on the voluntary, voluntary comporting with the laws of the land.
It is important that this hearing not be categorized, albeit there are certain populations and neighborhoods. Someone mentioned rural, I mention inner-city, I mention black and brown, I mention immigrants. In some instances, women are the most vulnerable. Teenage young boys, who happen to be African-American or Hispanic are those who are ultimately targeted by a bias amongst many bad apples in law enforcement.
So the thin blue line is one that is noted of the risks police officers take every day when they put on the badge. I respect that. But I think it is important that we commit ourselves to now allowing that admiration to cover up the 40 rounds that went into Pedro Oregonor 30 rounds, let me change that, the tragedy of Amadou Diallo, and of course the trial that's going on in New York now with the Haitian citizen who was attacked, and of course this young woman.
The question I have, and I would appreciate responses from everyone because I know my time draws near. But my concern is the translation of these incidents into a response by the prosecutorial staff or the prosecutorial arm. The tragedy of Riverside, California, was what the prosecutors did, frankly. This was a woman who was dazed or unconscious with a gun in her lap. Maybe some bodily movement, as one would move when you wake out of a sleep, got your hand on the gun. But the number of rounds that went into that young woman seems to be unpardonable, but there were no indictments. There were no indictments in the Pedro Oregon case of consequence. That is why the Justice Department is engaged.
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How do we relate with this training aspect of sensitizing police, how do you relate to the prosecutorial arm that deals with police? I would appreciate it if I could get an answer from everyone.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I am very grateful. Mr. Conyers, let me mind my manners and thank him for the long, long years of commitment on this issue. He has my commitment to work hard on legislation that he's offered. I thank the chairman for holding this hearing.
Mr. GAINER. Chief Gainer.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm looking at the wrong. Assistant Chief Gainer, thank you very much.
Mr. GAINER. Thank you. What we do now, and I think what most progressive law enforcement agencies do, is to work closely with the prosecutors in those cases where police use any force, but especially deadly force. So in order to ensure that the prosecutor can make a good decision, they have to have a good investigation and the facts be laid out for them.
Chief Ramsey and I met with the U.S. attorney today to talk about having the U.S. attorney in this jurisdiction, or States' attorneys in other jurisdictions be as part of a force investigation team or the response that either an office of professional responsibility, an internal affairs, whatever body it is does the investigation, part and parcel of that investigation is working closely with a State's attorney or a U.S. attorney. That way, they are in a position to make a good decision.
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If I could add, I know you are running out of time. One other point.
Mr. CONYERS. Would the gentlelady yield for just a second?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would be happy to yield.
Mr. CONYERS. You know, you have the highest shooting rate of officers anywhere in the country. Do you need this bill to help you get the idea?
Mr. GAINER. As a matter of fact, Congressman, what the department has recognized is that over the years in this jurisdiction, there was not adequate training, leadership, hiring or supervision.
Mr. CONYERS. How long did it take you to figure that out?
Mr. GAINER. Chief Ramsey and I arrived here 12 months ago.
Mr. CONYERS. Okay. Well, I have been here for several decades. I want to tell you, that we have got problems that really enforcement and leadership in the police department could cure. I mean the training is just one of the incidents of leadership. That is what I want to try to get that over to you.
Mr. GAINER. I don't disagree with you, Congressman, except for the fact that I just have a hard time understanding why looking at best practices seems to be a bad idea to you. That is what I am having a hard time understanding.
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Mr. CONYERS. Well, it's not about me looking at best practices, it is about you looking at best practices.
Mr. GAINER. And we are trying to do that. We have reached out to the Justice Department and this committee, it seems that this would help law enforcement chiefs across the country instead of reinventing the wheel one time or a thousand times, or ten thousand times. Let's look at the best practices. That is the type of thing this is designed to do. We'll take the help from the Congress, we'll take the help from the Justice Department, and I'm not ashamed to ask for help.
Mr. CONYERS. Well I am glad you're not. I mean you are the only police jurisdiction in America that resides in the Nation's capital. Nobody has more access to help than the District of Columbia Police Department.
Mr. GAINER. And there's many police departments across the country who may not have that access.
Mr. CONYERS. So we will give you that. If you are speaking for all the other police forces around the country, fine. But D.C. can walk down to the Department of Justice and begin to work on their problem.
If you are using this bill as an excuse or my quarreling about whether it's a band-aid or not as an excuse for the job you have got to do, then it seems to me that you need to pay more attention to where your leadership functions, you are the number two man in the department.
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Mr. GAINER. Congressman, it is a bit unfair to suggest that I am looking for an excuse. I am accountable for my
Mr. CONYERS. I said if you are looking for an excuse.
Mr. GAINER. The record should reflect that I am not looking for an excuse. I know my job, and I know my job very well. We could use additional help in mentoring, in trying to do some of the things that these men are pointing out.
I have no problem, if I don't do my job, sir, then you should have another hearing and drag me in by the scruff of the neck and take me to task. But I have come in to this room as a guest of the house of the people trying to share my 31 years experience.
Frankly, I resent a little bit the fact that I have to sit here and listen that hundreds and thousands of police officers are perjurers or that most of them are involved in brutality. Then we get a little bit of lip service that you're not indicting all of us, because it sure sounds like that.
Mr. CONYERS. Well I'm glad you resent that. I resent it far more than you do and far longer than you have. I resent it very much. This is one of the reasons we are saying we have got to do something serious about this problem because training, it goes deeper than that. If perjury is being committed at the level that Professor Dershowitz quoted another police chief, sir. He didn't say it, he said that police chief said that. Then we have got a much deeper problem than training. It's a systemic problem.
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I didn't mean to offend you or feel that you were going to be brought down by the scruff of your neck. But if I don't tell you this now, guess what, I may not ever see you again.
Mr. GAINER. I hope we do, because I would like to continue the exchange and share some of my experience.
Mr. CONYERS. All right. I appreciate that.
Mr. HYDE. Well, the gentlelady's time has expired. I want to say that this bill is a work in progress. It's not set in concrete. If there are improvements to be made from the gentlelady from California, the gentleman from Michigan, we welcome them. We are open to them. We want to help. So you have helped. You really have.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HYDE. I just want you to know all our hearings aren't this much fun.
Mr. GAINER. It's like working the street actually.
Mr. HYDE. Exactly right.
Now the gentlelady wants to say something more and she's welcome to.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. I do, Mr. Chairman. I had asked the question and Chief Gainer was in the midst of answering it as were the other panelists. I know they will be brief out of deference to you, but I would greatly appreciate them being able to give me two sentences. A very important part of my legislative agenda and initiative is to question the relationship between prosecutors and police, and whether or not Mr. Gainer has offered to say they try to work together positively or do they try to work together to not convict egregious actors who happen to be police.
I would just appreciate it if they could just run through quickly. I know, Mr. Gainer, if you can just finish.
Mr. HYDE. Sure. Let's get going on the answers.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I would appreciate it.
Can you summarize, Mr. Gainer, because there are a number of others that I would like to hear from. Thank you.
Mr. GAINER. The first time that the police and prosecutors meet ought not be over excessive force. They have to be working together to develop the protocols that will have the investigation and turn the investigation over to the proper third party individuals to look at it. They must work very closely as a team.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. And not be in cahoots to cover up, you are saying?
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Mr. GAINER. Absolutely not.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank you. Mr. Pfeifer? Thank you for your work.
Mr. PFEIFER. Yes, ma'am. To give you the rank and file's perspective, in whatever is implemented, we are the people who have to go out into the community and do what you want us to do. I agree with you that communities can only be policed if they want to be policed. Across this country, I think communities want good policing.
So what I would like to do is kind of maybe change the focus just a little bit and get to your question. By the time a prosecutor is looking at a police officer for some sort of use of excessive force or in a case where deadly force has been used, there have been some failures and breakdowns in the system.
I think we need to take the focus, we need to change it, and we need to train police officers and have them ask certain questions of themselves. We can all go through a police academy and learn how to handcuff, learn how to use a handgun. We can learn how to drive cars. What we really need to learn how to do is to communicate with people.
These officers need to ask the question of themselves, why am I doing this? Why am I taking this enforcement action? Why am I going to use this force? Why do I need to resort to the use of a firearm? Then if they can answer that question honestly, then they are probably appropriate in using the force or taking the enforcement action that they need to take.
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But going back to something that Mr. Conyers said, you know, I have heard that too, those rookies didn't go, or when I was a rookie I didn't go to those folks and get told the same thing. I got told, young man, you learn how to do these things in the academy, but maybe there is a better way to do them out here. You don't have to always be aggressive and abrasive with people. Listen to people. They have concerns. Maybe you don't have to write him that ticket. Maybe you don't have to arrest him this time. Maybe you can ask them to move on and do something, and they will remember that.
So getting back to your question. If prosecutors are not doing their jobs, they need to be held to the same standard as the police officers are, because we are held to the highest standard there is. Everybody gets a shot at us, whether it's the department, whether it's the local prosecutor, or whether it's the State prosecutor, whether it's the civil rights division. We are under a microscope. We do the very best we can under difficult circumstances. I think the vast majority of times we do a good job.
We want to do a better job, but we do a good job. I think that in order to have people go out there and do this day after day, you have to give them credit when credit is due, because you are never as good as your last press clipping, or you are never as bad.
Mr. HYDE. Ms. Baird?
Ms. BAIRD. Yes. The office of professional standards does work closely with the prosecutor's office in Chicago, the State's attorney's office, and the U.S. attorney's office.
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When we receive complaints of misconduct, any that may have potential criminal consequences, we refer those cases to the State's attorney's office for them to screen. If for any reason they should determine that it is not a prosecutable defense, we proceed administratively. However, if they do conclude that there are criminal charges, they investigate the case.
Basically that is how we handle the cases in Chicago. We have been for some time working closely with the State's attorney's office, not just on allegations of excessive force, but also in police shootings. They do screen those cases as well.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Roberts?
Mr. ROBERTS. Thank you. Just very quickly, I agree with what the chairman said. I am the front door at the police academy. Who becomes your Chicago police officer is really up to me. If I don't do it right, then and with our field training officer that they go to later on, then the problems that we are talking about here are going to continue to exist.
What you are asking about in terms of prosecution, within the training curriculum that we have, we bring to the attention of these young men and women where police officers have acted excessively in terms of force and so on, so that they understand. We train young men and women to recognize behavior, and then to act on that behavior. When in those situations, whether it be the Federal court or the local courts, have said they have acted excessively, we bring that to their attention so that they can learn. We build them into these scenarios I talked about. We put these young men and women in the situations and have them respond.
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So I am saying that we use it from a training aspect. To not then take that training after they leave the academy and continue it on has been unfortunately one of the problems in law enforcement, because the purse strings are generally very short, training takes place at the academy. Then I say we kind of cross our fingers and hope that that police officer will turn into the professional that we trained them to be. We have got to do more than cross our fingers. This training has got to continue in the field.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Shelton?
Mr. SHELTON. Our experience has been varied. When visiting with a group of police officers at Andrews Air Force base some months ago, I asked a question about what was involved in the training material. That is, are issues of racial profiling part of the training curriculum or what is the case here and why are we having these problems. Their response is, issues along these lines are not part of the curriculum, but they are part of the in-field training process.
In essence, usually rookie police officers are assigned to someone with a little bit more experience. That is the person that shares these kind of things, this kind of information with him. What you look for, who is the criminal suspect. Often times race becomes a big part of what that criminal suspect's profile looks like.
We are convinced that in order to address this problem, certainly training has to do what it needs to do to make sure they are well prepared to go out on the streets. However, the real issue manifests itself when police get out on the streets. What is it that is going to provide the level of accountability in which they will tow the line, they will stay in sync with what is requested and required of them as police officers.
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What we are finding is, is that as we begin to answer Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's question, that often times a relationship develops between police officers that have been around for a while and prosecuting attorneys in which case we have problems getting convictions along those lines as well. So we need a separate entity that is accountable at a very different level that would bring these cases forward and maintain the level of accountability necessary to keep our police officers in tact.
Let me say this as I close. Mr. Chairman, if we want to give back to our police officers the respect and the honor that they are very well due, part of that process is going to have to be giving greater power to those communities in which they oversee. Part of that giving power to those communities process is going to be giving them the power to help weed out those poor police officers that are not doing a great job. It's absolutely imperative.
Mr. HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Shelton.
Mr. HAMPTON. Yes, sir. Thank you very much. Two responses. One, I think that we had an example here in Montgomery County, where the officer that was involved in the shooting on the parking lot said initially it was an accident or mistake or whatever. But later on, it went to the grand jury and the grand jury refused to indict him or didn't have enough evidence. I think in those cases, and I'm not a lawyer, but I think in those cases, the difficulty is the standard in which to reach in order to get the prosecution, in order to prosecute the police officer.
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I believe there was some discussion about gross negligence in the officer's attempt. Well, I think it is difficult. I heard testimony the other day about the bar in order to reach in order for the Government to prosecute police officers on the Federal level. I would suggest that that same level exists on the local level also, along with all of the relationships that's been developed that's difficult to bridge in order to clear the police department of those people who never ever should have been police officers to start off with.
But in closing, let me say this. I think the other part of it was I never found it difficult whether there had been an incident or no incident, to go out on the street and police in my city. I was born and raised in Washington. I walked a footbeat working this city all my life. I remember an incident that happened on 14th Street where an officer was shot down and killed by a person. I was out walking my footbeat the next day. Yes, there were people who didn't understand, and there were people who were angry. But the best way to sort of deal with the concerns of people is to go out and walk in the communities for the people that you work with and talk about those issues.
I didn't take that personally. I didn't take any of that personally, because that wasn't me. As a matter of fact, there were situations where officers were involved in abuses that I didn't want to be involved with those officers. If the supervisors had been listening to me, I could have turned them in a long time ago. But they weren't interested in who the abusers were. They were just interested in what the abusers were doing. I don't mean in order to get rid of them. I am talking about in terms of the numbers, because they wanted some arrests.
So I think again, two solutions. Look at what the criminal law says has to be achieved in order to prosecute people. If there's an obstacle in the way, let's look at that legislation to remove the obstacle so we can convict murderers, of police officers who murder people. Then the other has to do with the individual officers need to go out there and do their job in the way that is pleasing to the people that they work for, and those are the citizens of the place they live in.
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Mr. HYDE. Mr. Papa?
Mr. PAPA. Everybody keeps talking about this bill like it's only about training. As I read the bill, and I hope I am reading it right, this commission can come back with recommendations concerning enforcement. I certainly hope, and it's my dream, that this commission develop a consensus on both training and enforcement, and perhaps a consensus on legislation that can then pass and change things.
We're still talking past each other a little bit here. I have seen a little bit of that today. My dream is that this commission will stop us from talking past each other and really get to a solution. I am the only guy sitting on this panel that's been shot at. I take this very seriously. I think we can get that consensus. Thank you. Go have lunch.
Mr. HYDE. Nothing focuses the mind more than to be shot at and missed I guess.
I want to thank every one of you. You have really gone above and beyond the call of duty because you love the subject. Law enforcement is your life. We want to be better at our job on this important subject. You have made a contribution. I thank you all.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman? I want to thank you, but I have two items I would like to submit into the record.
Mr. HYDE. Without objection, both items will be submitted into the record.
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[The information referred to follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Thank you, Chairman Hyde and Ranking Member Conyers for having the courage to initiate a hearing on the training and educational requirements for police officers. Uniform standards for the training and educating of police officers is a noble idea that merits consideration.
America needs a meaningful dialogue on the procedures that will bring about effective law enforcement programs that respects the constitutional rights of all citizens regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic class.
All Americans need to feel secure in their own neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it is well documented that several segments of America's minority groups have been victimized at the hands of rogue and renegade officers acting outside of the bounds of their lawful capacity.
We are all familiar with the Amadou Diallou killing and the Abner Louima incident in New York City. There is also the incident of the shooting of Pedro Oregon in Texas. These cases are extreme examples of police brutality that have attracted national attention.
On May 10, 1999, the Congressional Black Caucus conducted a hearing on police brutality and heard from several victims who lost loved ones at the hands of the police. These incidents clearly highlight the need for dialogue on the issue of police misconduct. Allow me to relate an incident of excessive force that occurred in Houston Texas that ended with the death of a civilian. Pedro Oregon died in a hail of bullets fired by officers following a tip that drugs were being sold in the southwest Houston home. The officers who entered the apartment where Oregon lived were in a gang task force in Houston's Police Department's Southwest Patrol Division. These officers entered the apartment without a search or arrest warrant. The Police fired 30 rounds, 12 of which hit Oregon. Nine stuck him in the back, one in the back of the head, one in back of the shoulder, and one in the back of the head. No drugs were found in the apartment and Oregon had not fired at police. A weapon was found nearby. An autopsy concluded that Mr. Oregon had no drugs or alcohol in his system and had no criminal record.
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I remember the 400 strong rally and march through rush-hour traffic in downtown Houston that occurred after Pedro Oregon was killed by the police. The chanting of ''No justice, no peace,'' and children holding signs while others carried pictures of loved ones that were murdered by police. Where do we go from here?
I am not here to suggest that all law enforcement officers operate outside of the law. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are dedicated to service and protecting the communities in which they serve.
Unfortunately, there are a few individuals operating with their own agendas designed to inflict punishment on law-abiding citizens. These individuals must be weeded-out and brought to justice in a swift and expeditious manner.
We need to examine this culture of abuse and disrespect for an individual's constitutional guaranteed civil rights because of preconceived notions and stereotyping. Racial profiling is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
If we are to move forward as a nation everyone must call for an end to the senseless brutality of law-abiding citizens by the police. We must seize the opportunity to ensure that the civil rights of all individuals are protected. To paraphrase the greatest civil rights leader of the twentieth century Martin Luther King, in his letter from a Birmingham jail, ''Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.''
As elected officials we must begin to hold police officers accountable when they act outside of the law. We must begin to show that America will no longer tolerate police brutality! Now is the time to stand togetherunified against injustice.
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We should study the problem of police training but we must do more than just create a congressional commission. We are fully aware of the problem and we have viable alternatives such as: (1) increasing the number of minority law enforcement officers; (2) providing for the psychological evaluation and screening of police candidates; and (3) passing H.R. 1443the Traffic Stop and Statistics Study Act of 1999.
There comes a time when we cannot and must not close our eyes when presented with evidence that certain laws and procedures discriminate unfairly on the basis of race. Congress must continue to act to protect the constitutional rights of all citizens. Thank you.
''BEYOND THE RODNEY KING STORY''
(NAACP REPORT ON POLICE CONDUCT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS)
With the Rodney King beating as the catalyst, the NAACP announced at its 1991 Annual Convention held in Houston in July that it would conduct a series of national hearings into police conduct beginning that fall.
Page 205 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As defined by the NAACP, the purpose of the hearings was to provide a public platform for citizens, public officials, community leaders, law enforcement personnel and experts to detail why they believe there continues to exist a wall of mistrust between African-American communities and law enforcement departments, and what positive steps have been taken, and can be taken to correct this dangerous situation.
Six cities, representing a geographical and demographic span, were selected as the sites of the hearingsNorfolk, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
In each of the cities, the panel of NAACP staff members was joined by a representative from the local branch of the NAACP who, because of his or her intimate knowledge of the city, were invaluable additions.
It was made clear at the beginning of each of the hearings that the NAACP was not engaged in any form of ''police bashing'', but had come in search of information.
Once the testimony had been taken and transcribed, the difficult process of analyzing the information began. To assist the NAACP in the development of our report, we were fortunate indeed to persuade two outstanding institutionsthe Criminal Justice Institute of the Harvard Law School, and the Trotter Institute at the University of Massachusettsto undertake the demanding task of examining the transcripts, categorizing and reporting the information, analyzing the findings, consulting the scholarly work that has been done in the field, and offering some preliminary recommendations.
Page 206 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The report, ''Beyond the Rodney King Story'', is the culmination of all these efforts.
I. POLICE CONDUCT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS: DEFINING THE PROBLEM
While the impetus for this report was the beating of Rodney King on March 3, 1991, that incident is not an aberration. The unique element of the Rodney King incident was that it was videotaped; similar, unrecorded episodes happen in cities and towns all over this country.
Whether or not police misconduct is increasing or consists merely of one isolated incident, it cannot be denied that a wall of mistrust exists between minority groups and the police, and that the relationship between the police and the community has eroded considerably.
Respect for law and order is the cornerstone of a free society. The rule of law is predicated upon the consent of people who believe the laws are administered fairly, thus commanding respect and confidence. Unjust or discriminatory administration of law by excessive force tends only to create distrust and contempt for the law and for law enforcement agencies.
The role of the police is difficult, dangerous, demanding and often misunderstood. Urbanization intensifies police problems, requiring strong community support if police forces are to be maintained at sufficient size with adequate training, equipment, and morale.
Page 207 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In lower income areas, where the problems of unemployment, poor education, inadequate housing, and drugs are rampant, the position of the police officer is especially difficult because he or she is often viewed as a symbol of oppression. The police officer is a buffer between disadvantaged groups and the ''establishment.''
It is impossible to study the police in this country without studying race. It is impossible to understand the police conduct in the Rodney King beatingor the daily incidents of police ''use of force''without understanding the history of police-minority relations. Those who claim that the verdict in the ''Rodney King case'' can be explained as a verdict that was not racist, but rather was ''pro-police,'' should next try to separate land from sea. Can they really say where the one ends and the other begins?
The recommendations contained in this report rest on the premise that the police, and notions of acceptable police beating of Rodney King, are part of a long and shameful history of racially motivated brutality and degradation that continues to find expression in powerful places.
A. Racism is a critical part of police misconduct
1. Finding: Race is a chief motivating factor in police suspicion, investigation, and stops and searches
Racism is an important motivating factor in how police departments perform their law enforcement functions. The use of sweeps through minority areas in the name of crime-fighting, targeting of young black males for stop and frisks, the targeting of young black males for humiliating strip searches, even in public, and the creation of criminal profiles which inevitably focus on African Americans and Latinos have become standard police practice in urban America. Rarely does one find the same extreme measures taking place in white areas, notwithstanding the fact that crime occurs there too.
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There is a growing feeling in the black community that the police regard all community members as either criminals or potential criminals. Police practices in black communities are a direct source of this perception.
2. Finding: Young black men are overrepresented in the criminal justice system
As a direct result of what they experience at the hands of the police, there is a growing perception among young black men that they are not being treated fairly. Young black men have come to experience police stops, questioning, and harassment as their American way of life.
B. Citizens experience police abuse in a wide variety of forms
1. Finding: Excessive force has become a standard part of the arrest procedure
Physical abuse by police officers is not unusual or aberrational as it applies to the minority community.
Nor will your station in life shield you from excessive police intrusion. Black professionals may be just as likely to be victims of police misconduct as the less affluent.
3. Finding: Verbal abuse and harassment are the most common forms of police abuse and are standard police behavior in minority communities
Page 209 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Police are consistently found to use verbal abuse and harassment in all types of encounters. This was the most frequent complaint about police officers in the various cities. Verbal abuse and harassment have the potential to occur every time a person is stopped by police officers. However, its occurrence is also vastly under reported. If the person is released after such an encounter, there may be no incentive after the initial feeling of anger has passed to pursue a complaint against the police.
The testimony presented leads to the conclusion that, for the minority community, verbal abuse and harassment by the police are standard operating procedure. Further, there appears to be little distinction between the type of abuse and harassment that occurs during public encounters and what occurs in private encounters. Many citizens testified about the verbal abuse and harassment they were made to endure in their own homes.
4. Finding: False charges and retaliatory actions against abused citizens frequently follow incidents of abuse
Often, police misconduct does not end with physical violence or verbal abuse. Far too frequently, the citizen who has just been subjected to police abuse is then arrested and charged with any of a variety of charges. The most common charges are disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer.
While there are no bright lines separating meritorious charges from those with no merit, there are some factual patterns which suggest the latter. Routine stops which escalate into charges against the citizen is one common example. Another is a citizen charged with assaulting an officer, where the citizen is injured and the officer is not.
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Many citizens are charged with offenses because they complain about treatment at the hands of police. The charges serve to justify the force used by the officers and the injuries done to the person arrested in anticipation of an investigation.
C. Police departments have only begun to address police abuse and have failed to track or discipline officers who are repeat offenders
1. Finding: Some police departments have established new policies regarding the use of force against citizens
Representatives of several police departments testified that they had adopted specific policies and procedures to regulate the use of force.
According to these police officials, their new policies permit the use of deadly force only to protect the officer's life or that of another and/or stop someone in the commission of a violent felony.
Some police and elected officials described new policies regarding the types of weapons or force which can be used by police officers. Indianapolis Mayor Hudnut endorsed the use of chemical repellents as an alternative to deadly force, a practice instituted by the outgoing Chief of Police. The Chief of the Chesapeake Police Department testified he had revised the department's firearms policies to standardize both the type of firearm used in the department and training in that particular weapon. He also replaced electric shock weapons and most non-lethal gases with one chemical agent.
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2. Finding: Many departments have inadequate procedures for monitoring and responding to patterns of misconduct by officers
Many police departments have inadequate systems for detecting patterns of misconduct by individual officers or for discerning the types of situations in which misconduct most frequently occurs. Citizens in several cities testified that the majority of the incidents of police brutality involve a minority of officers.
Some testified that the same officers engage in repetitive acts of misconduct against citizens and are known within the police department, yet the department fails to adequately discipline the officers who commit acts of brutality.
Recent surveys of the use of force in particular police departments have found a concentration of complaints against certain officers accompanied by a departmental failure to monitor and discipline those officers.
D. Civilians seldom prevail in complaints against police officers
1. Finding: Citizens are afraid to complain to the police about police misconduct
Citizens and representatives of community organizations at each of the hearings testified that many people are afraid to come forward to complain about police misconduct or to testify against officers. There was testimony in several cities that African Americans in particular complain within the African American community, but often do not file formal complaints with their local police departments.
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Some citizens fear a complaint will result in retaliation by the police, ranging from harassment to the institution of criminal charges. Witnesses to and victims of police misconduct fear they will be arrested if they complain about the police.
Because of the fear of coming forward, the number of official complaints made to the police is a small fraction of the number of citizens who have been the victims of police abuse. Even community and legal organizations which assist citizens with filing complaints or law suits alleging police misconduct hear about a relatively small portion of the incidents of misconduct.
2. Finding: The police procedures for civilian complaints of police misconduct are not widely publicized in the community
Those who are willing to file complaints alleging police misconduct face a number of impediments. Elected officials, as well as citizens and representatives from community organizations, testified that many persons do not know what complaint systems are available to them, even though the major urban police departments have formalized citizen complaint procedures.
3. Finding: Police discourage citizens from filing complaints of police misconduct
Many people reported that their attempts to file a complaint of misconduct are discouraged by the police. The police may actively resist the filing of the complaint by denying the complaint then and there or by harassing the prospective complainant.
Page 213 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The police discourage complaints by threatening to file or by filing criminal charges or civil lawsuits against victims of police misconduct. The victims of police misconduct, particularly the victims of the improper use of force, are frequently charged with criminal offenses ranging from disorderly conduct and destruction of property to assault on an officer and resisting arrest.
4. Finding: There is overwhelming citizen dissatisfaction with police investigations of citizen complaints
Citizens and representatives of community organizations in each city described numerous deficiencies in the internal police complaint process, ranging from the initiation stage to the results of the police investigations. Many people altogether rejected the notion that police can police themselves.
5. Finding: Citizens rarely prevail in police investigations
The consensus of the citizens and community organizations is that the internal review investigators overwhelmingly side with the police, generally concluding that the officer(s) used proper force. Many who have gone through the internal affairs complaint process felt it was of no help and only a waste of time and money.
6. Finding: Civil law suits rarely provide relief to victims of police abuse
Civil suits for personal injuries or false arrest are generally not a viable avenue of redress for victims of police misconduct. Few lawyers will take such cases. First, there are considerable financial disincentives to litigating cases of police abuse. Most victims cannot afford to pay an attorney in advance. Moreover, because attorneys generally accept these cases on a contingency basis, most attorneys will not pursue these cases unless they conclude that the complainant is likely to prevail on the facts and the damage award will be so substantial that it would justify the enormous commitment of time and resources required in such litigation.
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E. There seems to be a correlation between the race of the officer, the race of the citizen, and the incidence of abuse
1. Finding: Minority citizens report greater violence at the hands of white officers
Witnesses report that white police violence on black citizens is more likely to occur than black on white police violence. Many people in the minority community believe that white police officers are far more responsible for abusive conduct toward minorities than any other group.
2. Finding: African American police officers tolerate racially motivated police abuse to keep their jobs
African American police officers may be under greater pressure than white officers to tolerate instances of police abuse to insure continued employment and promotion opportunities. There was testimony in the hearings about black officers needing to make a good impression on white officers or superiors so they can get ahead.
Witnesses testified that African American officers are not immune to .the pull of the code of silence.
F. There is an ''us versus them'' mentality in police-community relations
1. Finding: A ''code of silence'' continues to exist in many police departments
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The notion that there is a ''code of silence,'' which protects and insulates police officers from allegations of misconduct, has been asserted for some time. The code of silence is a shared, often unspoken vow taken by police officers to never ''rat'' on each other.
Many police officers deny that a code of silence exists. Certainly, if officers confirmed the existence of a code of silence, they would be admitting something deeply disturbing about how police departments operate.
2. Finding: Police and elected officials varied widely in the opinions they voiced regarding the prevalence of police misconduct and the code of silence
Many police officials acknowledged that police departments have traditionally made a lot of arrests in the black community and in low-income areas, with the results that many African Americans grow up under constant surveillance. The Chief of the Virginia Beach Police Department testified that the perception that blacks are more frequently police targets arises in part from a ''lack of understanding and apprehension of police,'' which causes ''initial strain.''
While many citizens testified that police misconduct is an ongoing and pervasive problem, and that police-community relations in their communities are at a low point, a smaller number of citizens testified that there has been overall improvement in police community relations and in the frequency of police misconduct. Some of these citizens, however, testified that there are still officers who display a pattern of misconduct and remain on the force.
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African American law enforcement organizations also took a leadership role in proposing concrete steps to confront police brutality. According to members who testified at the hearings, NBPA and NOBLE are committed to speaking up and taking action against police misconduct.
In contrast to civilian witnesses, some police officials denied that any code of silence existed, or was not as prevalent as in years past, and that it would not be condoned by their police department.
3. Finding: Some police departments are attempting to move away from an ''us versus them'' attitude to a philosophy of cooperation with the community
Many of the police departments described the need to move away from the traditional ''us versus them'' mentality and the rapid response/crime solving approach to policing. Some conceded the failure of such approach in combating crime.
Police officials at the hearingseven those from rural police departmentsgenerally endorsed the concept of community policing.
Many police officials emphasized the need for better communication between the police and the community. For some, communication between the police department and the communityand within the police departmentbears directly on the effectiveness of the department.
Page 217 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC4. Finding: There must be a greater inclusion of minorities in police departments and police decision-making
Many of those who testified at the hearing believed that much of the ''us versus them,'' problem rests with an underrepresenation of minorities on the police force and in decision-making roles in law enforcement.
Others went further by demanding that more black and Latino officers be assigned to specific jurisdictions, making assignments to certain neighborhoods by race if necessary. According to these witnesses, for example, there should be more African American officers assigned to patrol black communities and more Puerto Rican officers assigned to patrol Puerto Rican communities.
Dr. Larry Capp testified that police science research shows there is better policing if officers know the area, live there, and have families there.
5. Finding: There has been an increase in minority representation in many police departments, but some departments continue to fail to reflect the communities they serve
A number of police and city officials testified at the hearings that the police must recognize the cultural diversity in their cities and increase representation of minorities and women in the police departments.
Several officials testified that the aim of the police department was to have the percentages of minorities in the department equal the percentage of minorities in the population served by the department.
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Some of the departments have recruitment plans described by witnesses as ''affirmative action'' plans, ranging from written plans to unwritten policies. Others have no affirmative action plan of any kind.
6. Finding: African Americans and other minorities are poorly represented in ranks above patrol officer and in the specialized units in many police departments.
In the Houston Police Department, white males constitute 97% of the captains, 87% of the lieutenants and 81 % of the sergeants. Only 5.7% of supervisory positions are held by African Americans, and only 7.5% are held by Hispanics.
African Americans constitute 22% of the command rank in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, while St. Louis has an African American population of more than 47%. In the Virginia Beach Police Department, African Americans constituted 8.3% of the force in 1992, but only 1.8% of those in the supervisory ranks. Even where the overall numbers of minorities in the police department have increased substantially, few African-Americans have risen far in the ranks. For example, in the Metro-Dade Police Department only 8.5% of the sworn force above the rank of patrolman is black. In the top 65 positions, 77% are white, 11 % are black, and 13.8% are Hispanic. In the Los Angeles Police Department, the percentage of sworn officers who are African American is comparable to the percentage of African Americans in the population of Los Angeles, by but only 8.5% of the officers in supervisory positions are African Americans. Hispanics, who comprise 33.3% of the city population, constitute 22.2% of all sworn officers and 14.3% of the supervisors.
Page 219 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCG. Police departments are beginning to respond to the needs of the community in police training programs
1. Finding: Police departments are beginning to require basic training in cultural diversity
Citizens, police representatives, and elected officials testified that police officers should receive training in cultural sensitivity and violence reduction in order to improve police-community relations.
Most of the police departments who were represented at the hearings have instituted some kind of training on these topics. However, there is a great deal of variety in the focus of the respective police departments on basic and in-service training of officers in these issues.
2. Finding: Some police departments have instituted in-service cultural diversity
Some police departments have also instituted cultural awareness, diversity, and violence reduction into in-service training.
While many of the police officials described the number of hours devoted to ''human relations'', ''cultural awareness'' or ''sensitivity'' training, whether basic or in-service training, there was little testimony regarding the substance of the training itself.
The isolation of the police from minority communities only serves to foster bad attitudes and ineffective police work.
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III. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE
A. There must be sweeping changes in the concept of policing
1. ''Us and them'' dynamic must change
There must be serious change in the very concept of policing in our cities and towns. The first change must be to do away with the ''Us and Them'' dynamic of police/community relations. This drawing of lines, and more, this taking of sides, only fosters racism and violence and needs to be altered.
There was much testimony throughout the NAACP hearings on the police being outside or above the community. There was also much testimony about an insular police culture which disparages all outsiders, particularly those in the minority communities. There was considerable testimony by members of the African American community about the racial animosity that is part and parcel of the ''Us and Them'' mentality.
2. Police officers must be part of the community they service
Police officers must be part of the community they serve. Outsiders with weapons, policing a community they neither know nor understand, perpetuates the notion of police officers as an occupying army. Roots in the community must be seen as an important hiring criteria, or at least a commitment to developing roots.
Page 221 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC3. Police officers must be reconceptualized as social services providers
Police officers must be reconceptualized as public servants engaged in social service delivery. Notwithstanding their current paramilitary image and structure, this was the original conceptualization of the police. Police officers have always been urban ''helpers,'' providing information, directing other municipal services to areas of need, and serving as an essential neighborhood resource.
While crime fighting will always be an important part of police work, it is not the only police function, nor is it necessarily the most important one. In inner city areas, police perform the widest array of service.
Police officers must, at the same time, be reconceptualized as important, valuable members of the community, essential to a free society. Police should be seen as the keepers of the calm, the keepers of safety.
B. There must be greater police accountability
Effective management of any large bureaucracy requires systematic, formalized, and comprehensive mechanisms to ensure attainment of the organization's goals and objectives. Among the most important are mechanisms to achieve accountabilityrewarding and encouraging positive police behavior, as well as preventing, mitigating, and improving negative police performance.
C. There must be a renewed commitment to diversity in hiring
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1. Police departments should reflect the communities they serve
There is no question that police departments should reflect the communities they serve, a recommendation made by many who testified at NAACP hearings throughout the country. Almost every police official who testified at the NAACP hearing presented their department's Affirmative Action plan, emphasizing the successes in recruiting, hiring, and promotions, and apologetically explaining the failures. There was an almost universal view that diversity in the police ranks was a key to bettering police/minority relations, and to stopping police brutality.
D. Police departments must reevaluate criteria for recruitment and hiring
1. Police departments should recruit better educated candidates
We join with those who recommended extensive psychological testing for potential violence, intolerance of difference, racism, sexism, and homophobia. We recommend that the testing include more than a written ''exam,'' and that simulations be developed and incorporated into the screening process.
3. Hiring police officers free of race, gender, and sexual orientation bias should be a priority
Police departments should actively seek out and hire police officers who are free of bias.
Page 223 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC4. Police departments must aggressively recruit from the minority community
Police departments should learn from the tactics of military recruiting. They should recruit everywhere: in high schools as well as colleges, in shopping districts, at recreational centers, at ball fields, at the local basketball courts, at ''options counseling'' sessions for teenage girls, at the Scouts, at places where gangs hang out.
E. It is essential to offer continuing training and education
It is essential to continue training and education beyond the police academy. If multicultural understanding and alternatives to violence are taught only to new recruits, what they learn will be quickly undone after contact with other officers.
1. Multicultural sensitivity and understanding should be interwoven into every aspect of training
Multicultural education must be an integrated part of every part of the training and ongoing educational program.
2. Teachers and trainers should come from within and without the police to provide a number of perspectives.
Those who conduct teaching sessions for the police should come from academia, the minority community, the feminist community, the gay and lesbian community, the religious community, and those who work with the homeless, the mentally ill, the drug and alcohol addicted,and the battered.
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3. Education sessions should be held with other urban social service providers whenever possible
The insularity of the police and other aspects of police culture might be altered by exposure to the perspectives of others serving the same urban population.
F. Promotion and advancement criteria must be reevaluated
Criteria for advancement and promotion should include a history of nonviolent police intervention, the lack of civilian complaints, ongoing educational achievement, ties to the community and extraordinary efforts to build community. Preference should be given to those who either come from or who have made themselves part of the community.
G. A community-oriented policing approach should be adopted by all police departments
H. Some form of civilian review must be adopted by all police departments
The NAACP hearings have reaffirmed the increasingly widespread recognition that police misconduct must be taken seriously, and that institutional mechanisms must be firmly in place to promptly and adequately discipline offending officers. There is a growing national consensus that some form of strong, independent, civilian oversight is necessary.
Of the 13 largest cities in the country with forms of civilian review, six have wholly civilian review; four have boards with a combination of both sworn officers and civilians; three have parallel review processes (police and civilian) operating at the same time. The cities in which NAACP hearing were held reflected these varieties of civilian review, each having its own unique nomenclature and format.
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There was a strong, clear call from civilians (and some police) who testified at the hearings for an independent review board. For most, the need for independence was based on long, painful experience, which had taught them that the police cannot effectively investigate and discipline themselves. As one Los Angeles witness testified, ''[T]he remedy is a Civilian Review Board independent of the police department, independent of an out-of-control department . . .
1. The civilian review board must have independent investigatory power
2. Civilian review boards should be composed of a majority of non-law enforcement personnel
3. Hearings should be open to the public
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
Mr. HYDE. The committee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:51 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]