Today, Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) announced his support and cosponsorship of police reform legislation known as the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act. This legislation was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) and is the companion bill to legislation introduced yesterday by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) in the United States Senate.
"The JUSTICE Act takes proactive measures to enhance training, strengthen accountability, and increase transparency," said Congressman Bill Huizenga. "The vast majority of law enforcement officials serve their community with dignity, respect, and professionalism. The JUSTICE Act provides substantive reforms that will help rebuild trust between our communities and police."
"In order to make real progress on public safety we will need to restore trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve," said Congressman Pete Stauber. "We must work to increase transparency and accountability within policing. The JUSTICE Act will do just that."
"Now is the time for reform," Senator Tim Scott said. "The murder of George Floyd and its aftermath made clear from sea to shining sea that action must be taken to rebuild lost trust between communities of color and law enforcement. The JUSTICE Act takes smart, commonsense steps to address these issues, from ending the use of chokeholds and increasing the use of body worn cameras, to providing more resources for police departments to better train officers and make stronger hiring decisions. I want to thank Leader McConnell and the entire task force not just for their hard work on putting this bill together, but for their commitment to finding real solutions."
Law Enforcement Reform
The JUSTICE Act strengthens the training methods and tactics throughout law enforcement jurisdictions, especially regarding de-escalation of force and the duty to intervene, providing law enforcement with new funding to do so, and will also end the practice of utilizing chokeholds
Additionally, the bill will reform hiring practices by providing more resources to ensure the makeup of police departments more closely matches the communities they serve
The JUSTICE Act also ensures when a candidate is interviewed, the department looking to hire will have access to their prior disciplinary records
Too often, after a tragic incident, we have learned the offending officer had a disciplinary past in another jurisdiction of which their current employer was unaware
Studies show that when body cameras are properly used violent encounters decrease significantly
The JUSTICE Act will put more body cameras on the streets, and ensure that departments are both using the cameras and storing their data properly
JUSTICE also requires a report establishing best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension, and discipline of law enforcement officers
Currently, only about 40% of police officers from jurisdictions nationwide report to the FBI after an incident where an officer has discharged his or her weapon or used force
The bill will require full reporting in these two areas
There is also very little data as to when, where and why no knock warrants are used, and the JUSTICE Act will require reporting in this area as well
The JUSTICE Act will finally make lynching a federal crime
It also creates two commissions to study and offer solutions to a broader range of challenges facing black men and boys, and the criminal justice system as a whole