FLEOA Denounces House's Approach to Police Reform

March 10, 2021

Washington, D.C- Today, Larry Cosme, National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) – the nation’s largest non-partisan, not-for-profit professional association representing nearly 30,000 federal law enforcement officers across 65 federal agencies—denounced the actions of the House of Representatives last week to ram through its partisan approach to police reform, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, without allowing consideration of any amendments; without the input of federal, state, and local law enforcement stakeholder groups; and with only one hour of limited debate:

"Last year as the nation debated the need for law enforcement reforms in the wake of the horrible death of George Floyd, FLEOA agreed that steps should be taken to increase the professionalization of law enforcement, increase accountability and openness, enhance training standards, and work to bring communities and law enforcement closer together,” said FLEOA President Larry Cosme. "In order to truly improve policing in our nation, law enforcement must be at the table. Their input is necessary to ensure any reforms are realistic, pragmatic, and targeted towards the needs not just the optics. Instead what we saw last year and, again last week, was that the House passed a partisan bill with no law enforcement input that includes unrealistic and dangerous provisions that undermine the law enforcement profession and make our communities more dangerous.”

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 would:

1) Eliminate Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers. Qualified immunity has a, often misunderstood, high bar for officers to receive and is the only protection law enforcement officers have from frivolous lawsuits.

2) Ban federal officers from using deadly force except as a last resort to prevent imminent and serious injury or death to the officer or another person. This provision violates the Graham v. Connor Supreme Court tenants. The provision is also well beyond the National Consensus Policy on Use of Force, a practical use of force reform proposal FLEOA and other law enforcement organizations have supported.

3) Create National Police Misconduct Registry that in essence violates officers due process rights and could become weaponized to target officers. This type of registry coupled with the impractical and uninformed use of force standards will deeply undermine law enforcement and deter reasonable actions to protect the public.

4) Stop the transfer of equipment to law enforcement under 1033 Program. The majority of which is armor used as protection for law enforcement agencies during last summer and the January 6th Capitol riots.

"Instead of conducting a real debate on the Democrat’s bill and the JUSTICE Act offered by Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), which had law enforcement input and addressed many of the above issues in a realistic and effective way, the House just passed a piece of legislation that accomplishes nothing of what is needed, defunds the police, and only further entrenches an anti-police dialogue,” Cosme said. "There are answers to law enforcement reforms that both the public and law enforcement have been calling for. However, in order to be effective, they must be realistic and receive law enforcement input. Passing legislation that is unrealistic and does not accomplish the goal of helping law enforcement professionalize is a waste of time.”

FLEOA urges all members to contact their Senators as soon as possible to speak out against the Justice in Policing Act and to encourage a bipartisan solution that incorporates the views of all impacted stakeholders. Members can locate contact information for their two Senators by visiting this link.
View Full Letter Here