Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Editor's Pick

Justice Dept. launches database to track misconduct by federal officers

The Justice Department on Monday unveiled a new national database to track serious misconduct violations by federal law enforcement officers, a move authorities said would help ensure that those officers are not unwittingly hired by other government agencies.

President Biden called for the creation of the database in his executive order on policing from May 2022, which outlined dozens of steps aimed at bolstering accountability among federal officers and reducing the use of unnecessary force.

Justice officials said the database will include records of misconduct incidents for current and former federal law enforcement officers dating back seven years. The Justice Department already has submitted records for its personnel to the database, officials said, and all federal law enforcement agencies must do so by Feb. 16, 2024.

The database can be accessed by government entities but will be off limits to the public to protect employees’ privacy, officials said. The Bureau of Justice Statistics intends to publish an annual public report of aggregated data about the program.

Yet the initiative is significantly limited in scope because the U.S. government lacks the authority to require participation from thousands of state, local and tribal police departments, which make up the majority of the nation’s law enforcement personnel.

Justice officials told reporters in a background call that they will provide federal grants and partner with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards to try to bolster an existing national decertification database for local police.

“This database will ensure that records of serious misconduct by federal law enforcement officers are readily available to agencies considering hiring those officers,” Biden said in a statement.

The president emphasized, however, that broader police reform can happen only through a vote of Congress. He urged lawmakers to reconsider the George Floyd Policing Act, which failed in 2021 amid opposition from Senate Republicans. It would have banned chokeholds, limited no-knock warrants and limited qualified-immunity policies that protect officers accused of wrongdoing, among other measures.

Justice officials said the program announced Monday is not intended to prevent current or former federal officers from getting new jobs in the U.S. government but rather to provide greater transparency to prospective employers about their backgrounds.

The database will cover officers who have faced criminal convictions, criminal judgments, terminations, suspensions of law enforcement authorities, resigned or retired while under investigation and sustained compliance or disciplinary actions related to allegations of serious misconduct — such as use of excessive force, bias, discrimination, obstruction of justice, false reports, false statements under oath, theft and sexual misconduct.

“No law enforcement agency — including the Justice Department — can effectively do its work without the trust of the public,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “This database will give our law enforcement agencies an important new tool for vetting and hiring officers and agents that will help strengthen our efforts to build and retain that trust.”

Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, said his union, which represents many local officers and some federal officers, has had input on the database with the Justice Department and supports the initiative.

“With respect to whatever negative information is in there, as long as it is fully adjudicated and they have due process and all their appeals have been exhausted, we’re fine with it,” Pasco said. “We feel the way it is written should protect people’s rights.”

For years, calls for police reform have included pleas for greater accountability for law enforcement officers. Many of the loudest calls followed deadly shootings by officers, which have triggered outrage and protests in cities across the country. But despite the demands for change, the number of fatal shootings has climbed slightly in recent years.

The Washington Post began tracking such incidents by on-duty police officers in 2015. Between 1976 and 2015, the FBI never tracked more than 460 fatal shootings by police in any single year; The Post has found more than double that number in every year since launching its database.

In 2020, the same year the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked nationwide demonstration’s, The Post’s database logged more than 1,000 such shootings, a new high. The number edged higher in 2021 and again in 2022. Through Dec. 7, The Post’s database has counted 1,067 fatal shootings by on-duty police officers this year.

The Biden administration has pushed for police reform in some high-profile ways — including by intensive investigations into local departments in Minneapolis, Louisville, Phoenix and Memphis, among other places — and its announcement Monday extended those efforts.

But it also underscored the agency’s limitations. There are some 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, and the vast majority local police forces and sheriff’s offices, according to federal data.

In many cases, attempts to impose accountability on individual officers and departments have run into roadblocks. A Washington Post investigation in 2017 found that police chiefs had been forced to reinstate hundreds of officers who had been fired for misconduct following appeals required by their union contracts.

Allegations of wrongdoing have also proved costly: A Washington Post investigation last year found that more than $3 billion was spent to settle claims of wrongdoing at 25 of the country’s largest police and sheriff’s departments over the preceding decade.

The launch of the Justice Department’s database comes more than 18 months after Biden’s executive order strengthened federal investigations into alleged civil rights violations, mandated that federal officers wear body cameras and ordered federal law enforcement agencies to report use of deadly force to the FBI, among other measures.

Biden now faces pressure from multiple sides as he tries to implement policing reforms amid criticism from activists that there has been insufficient progress at the federal level. Although states have passed bills aimed at police accountability, the rollout of the executive order has been slow, and a sweeping policing law remains elusive.

As he runs for a second term, the president is facing backlash from Republicans opposed to diversity initiatives — complicating police accountability because of its links to racial justice. Former president Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination, has accused Biden of being weak on crime.

Steven Rich contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

Enter Your Information Below To Receive Free Trading Ideas, Latest News And Articles.

    Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

    You May Also Like

    Latest News

    North Korea may be known as the hermit kingdom, but the isolated nation could be edging toward opening its borders to small numbers of...

    Editor's Pick

    One of the perks of being speaker of the House — or at least, one of the characteristics of it — is that you...

    Latest News

    Evacuations are underway across Hawaii’s Big Island and Maui as passing Hurricane Dora helps fuel wildfires that have damaged structures, prompted rescues and spurred...

    Latest News

    Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki won her first competitive tennis match in three-and-a-half years on Tuesday, defeating Australian Kimberly Birrell 6-2 6-2 at...

    Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively “The Company”) do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

    Copyright © 2024