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Police officers are held to a higher standard of character and moral judgment and they should live up to it or get another job. Police have more powers than the average citizen, they have the power to arrest, seize property and use deadly force. When they fall short of those standards they should be fired and prosecuted, not suspended or given probation. They should also have their “peace officer license” taken away. Keep in mind it’s not hard for a cop who has a tarnished record to move to another city and get a job as a police officer.
Goals Towards a Better Police Accountability System
We need to restore police accountability, build public trust in law enforcement and promote public safety in communities throughout America.
When a police officer breaks the law the majority of the time, they get off easy, usually just getting a small slap on the wrist for such crimes as DWI, child porn, stalking, sexual harassment and spousal abuse. Since Law Enforcement has so much more power over citizens such as yourself, it’s only fair to “balance the tables” and deal harshly with police misconduct. No one should be above the law!
It’s hard to prosecute police officers. There are two main reasons for this: The first is the special deference that jurors, judges, and prosecutors show officers thanks to the widespread perception that they are heroic public figures valiantly trying to protect us.
The second is the bevy of special laws around the country that are designed to shield police officers from the very tactics the police regularly use on ordinary suspects. For example, in most states, law enforcement officers cannot be questioned until they have been given 3 days to get their stories straight. These two factors can make convicting police officers extremely difficult, and it is no accident; it is the direct result of the sustained effort by police unions to protect officers from even the most deserved discipline or prosecution.
~ A Federal law is needed making it a crime for police officers who commit acts of brutality and murder.
~ Civilian control and oversight of the police. Creating and strengthening civilian review agencies; putting early warning systems into place to identify officers who are the subject of repeated complaints.
~ Open police records in all states. This would give the public access to police records of misconduct.
~ End the 72 hour rule and the option to a trial by judge – Police officers accused of brutality and murder are given 3 days to “get their stories straight and view any videos of the incident.”
~ A national database open to the public with the names of bad cops so that they don’t become “gypsy cops.” A gypsy cop, sometimes called roving cops is law enforcement slang for a peace officer who floats from department to department regardless of, or because of, misconduct or poor job performance.
~ A requirement that all law enforcement agencies consult that database before hiring.
~ Cash rewards for the exposure, arrest and conviction of corrupt cops.
~ Efforts should be made to combat the “code of silence.”
~ Mandatory random drug testing for all police officers. Not just prior to employment, but also random drug testing during employment as a police officer. Police officers who are involved in an accident or shoot someone, would be required to take a drug test and a Breathalyzer.
~ Police officer must record all traffic stops and encounters with the public.
~ Police must have documentation by either written consent or on video before searching a motor vehicle at a traffic stop. This would require police to inform drivers of their fourth amendment rights.
~ Set tougher standards for who can and can’t be a police officer.
~ Annual psychological evaluations.
~ Police would be required to use electronic recording of an entire police interrogation in cases involving homicides and other serious felonies. This measure would help end coerced confessions and protect both defendants and police. “Coerced confessions, false jailhouse informant testimony, and mistaken eyewitness identifications are the leading causes of wrongful convictions.”
~ An independent prosecutor is needed for police corruption and police brutality cases. Usually, District Attorneys work directly with the police on a daily basis. They rely heavily on one another to indict, prosecute, and try cases. They function as one institution and to have a local DA prosecute a police officer is certainly a conflict of interest.
~ Police should have more training and assistance in coping with the demands that they face.
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