Rep. Loudermilk Meets with Officers from Police Departments in 11th District to Discuss Police Reform

Press Release

Date: July 2, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) issued the following statement after he discussed the various police reforms being proposed in Congress with police officers from ten different departments in Georgia's 11th Congressional District:

"It is unquestionable that the death of George Floyd was horrific, and it highlighted the need to look carefully at the treatment of people while in police custody. Clearly, law enforcement has a responsibility to ensure everyone's rights are protected. What happened to George Floyd should never happen to anyone; and, the vast majority of law enforcement officers across this nation agree.

"There are issues that should be addressed by Congress and state legislatures; but it is crucial that law enforcement have a front seat at the table, as we work on solutions. That's why I reached out to the law enforcement agencies in the 11th Congressional District, to discuss the reforms that are needed to ensure accountability, without overreaching, politically-based policies that could put officers and the public at greater risk.

"This issue is so important, we must give law enforcement reform thorough consideration, not just rush through partisan-based legislation, because it's an election year. There are several issues in law enforcement reform that Republicans, Democrats, and law enforcement officials agree on. Items in the reform bill authored by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), such as holding poor performing officers accountable, a federal database to track officers fired for misbehavior, greater restrictions on the use of choke-holds, increased use of technology - such as body cameras, increased training, and more funding for mental health services in our communities.

"Although some of these reforms were in the bill Speaker Pelosi rushed to the floor last week, that bill contained provisions that our local agencies agree would put their departments and officers at great risk. Most importantly, removing qualified immunity, they all agreed, would make retaining or hiring police officers virtually impossible. Just as we should not equate peaceful protesters to the vandals and rioters; neither can we accuse all law enforcement officers of being bad cops based on the actions of a few. At the end of the day, our police are a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

"Now is the time for us to work together, not isolate into partisan camps. This should not be "the people versus the police.' I have great respect for our law enforcement community across the nation, and especially those in the 11th Congressional District, and I appreciate the opportunity to work together on these issues."

"Congressman Loudermilk's forward thinking in reaching out to local law enforcement within his district, for input into pending law enforcement reform legislation, is refreshing and exciting. We look forward to providing input in the future for the betterment of the law enforcement profession, the communities we all serve, and our great nation." - Chief C.T. Cox, Cobb County Police Department

"Police reform needs input from all stakeholders, including the police themselves. We appreciate Congressman Loudermilk's willingness to listen and engage law enforcement leaders in this discussion." - Chief Ken DeSimone, Sandy Springs Police Department

"One of our biggest barriers to reform is stereotyping. Stereotyping any group, whether it is a minority group or in this case, the police, is always wrong. No group of human beings is all like the worst example of them. No one hates bad cops as much as good cops. We appreciate Representative Loudermilk's resolve to involve the police in planning our path forward." - Chief Dan Flynn, Marietta Police Department

"It was honor to be a part of this forum. It is abundantly clear that we, in law enforcement, need to have an active role in eliminating racial injustice. It is up to us all to initiate and maintain the dialogue, and for law enforcement to seek intentional ways to listen, hear, and respond to the needs of our community in a way that builds trust. A bipartisan and informed approach is the foundation of what is needed to bring the unity that we all want in our communities. As an officer, I took an oath to protect everyone, and that has never changed! I look forward to doing my part in making a positive difference." - Chief Bill Westenberger, Kennesaw Police Department