“It’s time to channel anger into action and usher in a new era of police accountability and criminal justice reform. I support the overwhelming number of women and men in uniform who are doing a good job. I also support real, substantive, actionable, and accountable change and reforms that will make our communities safer and stronger for all.”
In addition to the Gentles 9-point plan outlined below Gentles is calling for criminal justice reform that begins with a ban on federal and state private for-profit prisons. “The only reason for-profit corporations exist is to make money and it is unacceptable to use our people, overwhelmingly people of color, and specifically people of African descent, as the product that provides the profitability for private prisons. This is part of the pipeline to prison problem that exists in our country today.”
Gentles 9-point plan calls for the following:
- Severely restrict claim and use of qualified immunity statutes to ensure that bad police officers and public employees are not protected for their bad behavior and judgment. This will make officers think closely about their actions.
- Require all police officers on the street to wear body-worn cameras that cannot be turned off while on duty.
- Release the names of all officers involved in shootings and their track records.
- Increase training in implicit and unconscious bias and racial stigmatization.
- Establish citizens review and oversight boards at the local level to monitor and hold accountable those sworn to protect and serve. An example is the City of Phoenix that just approved $3 million in funding for such oversight, which is a step in the right direction. All police departments, including those in Congressional District 6, should implement similar oversight.
- Provide greater latitude to police chiefs to terminate bad cops for egregious behavior. Today, it is very difficult to do so based on state statutes and the influence of unions.
- Reform civil service boards to make it more difficult to overturn a Chief’s decision to terminate an officer.
- Implement national qualification standards to become and to be retained as a police officer. We must take into consideration small and rural communities in this discussion, as their pool of qualified individuals is much smaller. Similar to doctors, we must hold police officers to a higher standard, require more training, and require disciplinary actions related to bad acts more than any other profession due to their direct impact on life.
- Require agencies to report all misconduct to their Post Boards with investigation requirements.