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house Bill H.R. 125

Should the Feds Incentivize Sensitivity Training for State Police Departments?

Argument in favor

The federal government has an obligation to ensure that state law enforcement agencies put their officers and cadets through sensitivity training, and that special prosecutors are appointed to investigate police officers. Making grant funding conditional on putting these changes into effect will increase compliance by states and cities that need funding.

burrkitty's Opinion
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01/25/2019
Many states already do. That is what the “Laboratory of Democracy” is supposed to do. The states try things. If they work, the federal government picks it up. If not the damage is minimized. It works. It works in a lot of places. Ergo, now implementation by federal. Lo, the system works.
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Jeffrey's Opinion
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01/25/2019
Sensitivity training should be mandatory from small town police stations to large state police stations. This is a good thing and while I know police officers see the worse of the worse you should still be sensitive to others and their feelings etc
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Abbi's Opinion
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01/25/2019
Yeah actually I think that’s a great idea. De-escalation would be amazing too I can’t tell you how grateful I was to a cop that calmed an angry situation with just their voice.
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Argument opposed

Requiring states to appoint an independent prosecutor for investigations involving police officers or requiring cops to undergo sensitivity training will not significantly improve relations between law enforcement and their communities. Reducing the amount of grant funding that goes to state and local governments will have a negative impact on public.

NoHedges's Opinion
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01/25/2019
Why does this job duty need to be “incentivized” these are police officers? If an officer requires payment to “learn” to be empathic then maybe they are in the wrong line of work.
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Miles's Opinion
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01/25/2019
The feds should not have anything to do with state police departments. Nothing good could ever come from centralizing this type of law enforcement, no matter how small the issue is, & this is the kind of thing that slowly leads to that
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Mark's Opinion
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01/25/2019
Nothing good can come from mingling our federal government and state police. This is how the Nazis came to power in Germany. This sort of thing is to be avoided at all costs.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 125?

This bill would require states receiving federal funds from specific grant programs to mandate that state law enforcement officers or cadets receive sensitivity training each fiscal year or risk losing federal assistance. States that fail to comply with these requirements could face a 20 percent reduction in the grant funding that otherwise would’ve been awarded. The sensitivity training must include instruction on ethnic and racial bias, cultural diversity, and police interaction with the disabled, mentally ill, and new immigrants.

The state must must certify to the Attorney General that these training sessions have been completed, although these requirements could be waived if compliance with this legislation would violate a state’s constitution.

The Attorney General would be also be directed to reduce federal funding by 20 percent to state or local governments that failed to enact or put into effect a requirement that an independent prosecutor be appointed under the following circumstances:

  • One or more of the possible defendants is a law enforcement officer;

  • One or more of the alleged offenses involves the law enforcement officer’s use of deadly force in the course of carrying out their duty;

  • The law enforcement officer’s use of deadly force resulted in death or injury.

The federal grant programs that would be affected by this legislation are the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, the Local Government Law Enforcement Block Grants Program, and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.

Impact

Law enforcement officers and cadets who would undergo the sensitivity training and the members of the community who they would interact with; district attorneys and independent prosecutors; and the Attorney General.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 125

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) reintroduced this bill from the 114th Congress as part of a package of criminal justice reform bills aimed at improving police-civilian relations:

“These bills will help bring much needed reform to our criminal justice system, and help restore trust between police and the citizens they serve and protect. Asking the local prosecutors to investigate the same local police with whom they need to work so closely on a day to day basis creates a conflict of interest which we should be working to end. Better training, statistics and video evidence will also help, as will an orderly process or enabling appropriate ex-offenders, who have completed their sentences, to re-enter society.  I want to thank my colleague Lacy Clay for his partnership on the Police Training and Independent Review Act. He is a tireless advocate on these issues.  I also want to thank Senator Tammy Duckworth for her leadership on this bill, and look forward to her introduction of a Senate companion soon.”

In the 114th Congress, Rep. Steve Cohen introduced this legislation with the goal of improving relations between law enforcement and the communities they protect while reducing the number police brutality incidents against minorities:

“America received a sobering wakeup call last year in Ferguson, followed by others in Staten Island, Cleveland, North Charleston, and more recently in Baltimore. The need for reform is as clear as it is urgent. Officers need better training. Excessive force must end. Justice shouldn’t just depend on whether a bystander catches bad acts on video. Expecting local prosecutors to prosecute the same officers upon whom they rely to do their job presents a clear conflict of interest, and it is unnecessary.”

This bill has 51 cosponsors in the current Congress, all of whom are Democrats. In the 114th Congress, this bill had the support of 100 cosponsors in the House, all of whom were Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user diana_robinson)

AKA

Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2019

Official Title

To provide for grants for States that require sensitivity training for law enforcement officers of that State and to incentivize States to enact laws requiring the independent investigation and prosecution of the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.

    Many states already do. That is what the “Laboratory of Democracy” is supposed to do. The states try things. If they work, the federal government picks it up. If not the damage is minimized. It works. It works in a lot of places. Ergo, now implementation by federal. Lo, the system works.
    Like (65)
    Follow
    Share
    Why does this job duty need to be “incentivized” these are police officers? If an officer requires payment to “learn” to be empathic then maybe they are in the wrong line of work.
    Like (83)
    Follow
    Share
    Sensitivity training should be mandatory from small town police stations to large state police stations. This is a good thing and while I know police officers see the worse of the worse you should still be sensitive to others and their feelings etc
    Like (41)
    Follow
    Share
    Nothing good can come from mingling our federal government and state police. This is how the Nazis came to power in Germany. This sort of thing is to be avoided at all costs.
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    The feds should not have anything to do with state police departments. Nothing good could ever come from centralizing this type of law enforcement, no matter how small the issue is, & this is the kind of thing that slowly leads to that
    Like (34)
    Follow
    Share
    Yeah actually I think that’s a great idea. De-escalation would be amazing too I can’t tell you how grateful I was to a cop that calmed an angry situation with just their voice.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes
    Like (19)
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    Imagine if sensitivity training was provide pre-Ferguson? Could the training have saved lives? I believe it could have. We must learn from our failings to the families and communities that have looked to the police for protection. The color of one’s skin, whether male or female, should never be a factor in decisions. To delay in approving this bill could very well cost lives of people who the police are sworn to protect. To learn from mistakes, including those with a tragic outcome, can help heal our country moving forward.
    Like (14)
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    Absolutely implicit bias training is a necessity since racism, xenophobia, and all the rest can rarely be trained away, There should be a house cleaning of violent, racist, privileged injustice system characters with real and severe punishment for infractions as the other side of the coin. For too long Ferguson and Philly have been models of our injustice system Praying on People of Color and the poor. Let’s bring real justice into our country Systems now.
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    Everyone is equal under the law. Law enforcement should be about enforcing laws not assaulting suspected or proven offenders.
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    More Democrat lunacy. Enough already.
    Like (11)
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    Yep! Wouldn’t hurt. Hopefully, would help.
    Like (9)
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    This is ridiculous, NO, states also shouldn’t be getting funding from federal.
    Like (9)
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    Mixing Federal police with state police in this manner is a huge mistake. Cooperation between the two for catching a perpetrator is fine but this is not. Just as schools accepting Federal money, once you do then you must accept all the strings that come with accepting that money, the same applies with both police forces. #MAGA
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    It’s bad that police need sensitivity, but unfortunately it’s necessary. Too often, we see police succumb to racial bias, inappropriate responses to people who are mentally ill, and engage in clearly unjustified shootings. If the police are going to protect and serve, we need to make sure they respond to situations in an appropriate manner.
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    No way! Keep the feds out of states issues.
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    the training will help them be more responsible with their power
    Like (5)
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    While I think that the officers can benefit from the training, I think that the states should make the decision.
    Like (5)
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    A step in the right direction. Too many officers bring their personal bias to the field of duty, jeaprodizing the lives of minorities. Look at Brock Turner, who violently raped an unconscious woman and received no more than six months in jail, compared to children like Tamar Martin, who wasn’t even committing a crime when he was shot by a police officer. Enough said.
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    Most definitely. Even though the police officers that come into this line of work should already be educated on this, the way things going now and days it is crucial for police officers to get trust back from the people they are employed to protect and serve. A lot of officers come into the field with personal bias and uneducated on how to handle disabled people and etc and it shows. This is absolutely necessary.
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