The public, elected officials and law enforcement leaders are scrutinizing and redefining laws that are used to disproportionately victimize communities and people of color and those that live in poverty.
Jurisdictions around the country, and even in Congress, are entertaining bills and proposals that tighten the definitions of what constitutes the use of “force” in law enforcement. In addition, new trainings for law enforcement and revisions of laws and codes are urgently needed. Community action propels the development of legislating community oversight, and enhancing restorative justice practices.
Why Civic Engagement Around Statewide and National Law Enforcement Accountability and Restorative Justice are Important:
- Fair, just and humane treatment by law enforcement is a basic human right for all.
- Solving issues of systemic racism requires creating police and community relationships based on cooperative methods of providing community security.
- Exercizing our right to fair and just treatment by law enforcement officers involves the whole community and affects all statewide and nationally.
- The need is urgent right now.
The Freedom Center in partnerships and coalitions organize community education and integration into efforts to move elected officials and law enforcement leaders to create legislation that calls for the fundamental alteration of current policing strategies and tactics. Specifically, the Freedom Center works to change police conduct that disproportionately victimize individuals and communitites of color and those that live in poverty.
SIR ROBERT PEEL’S POLICING PRINCIPLES
In 1829, Sir Robert Peel established the London Metropolitan Police Force. He became known as the “Father of Modern Policing,” and his commissioners established a list of policing principles that remain as crucial and urgent today as they were two centuries ago. They contain three core ideas and nine principles.
9 Policing Principles
- To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
- To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
- To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing cooperation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
- To recognize always that the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
- To seek and preserve public favor, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humor, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
- To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
- To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
- To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
- To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.