Washington, DC - The Fraternal Order of Police took the initiative and began participating in good faith discussions on criminal justice reform more than a year ago. We have spent countless hours working with Members of Congress from both parties, in the House and in the Senate, to draft legislation that would improve policing in the United States while preserving the protections so critically important to officers on the street.
Unfortunately, given the politics of the moment, we seem to be poised to undo more than a year’s worth of work toward common sense criminal justice reform. Demagoguery and scare tactics have jeopardized the future of these efforts and may well have derailed the negotiations.
If Congress abandons its efforts on criminal justice reform, the results for our citizens and our profession will be tragic. States and local jurisdictions will go their own way and make their own reforms—in fact, in some States and jurisdictions, this is already happening. Instead of national norms involving the use of force, body-worn camera policies, and other law enforcement issues across the country, we will have standards that are less uniform and reflect local political concerns instead of best police practices. We will continue to see historic levels of attrition in the policing profession which, coupled with the nationwide recruiting crisis, has put all of our citizens in greater danger. If in fact the effort to craft bipartisan legislation does come to an end, we will have missed an enormous opportunity to strengthen the bonds between police officers and the communities they serve while ensuring the continuation of protections which are vital to rank-and-file police officers.
The FOP remains committed to meaningful criminal justice reform and we will keep working with our partners in Congress and the Administration. We are equally committed to preserving and reinforcing the protections vital to officers on the street. We share in the frustration of all Americans with the naysayers and bomb-throwers. Our fundamental public safety issues are officer safety and officer rights. The status quo is not acceptable, and we need to do better.