Congressman Cohen’s Police Training and Independent Review Act Endorsed by Law Enforcement Officials

September 19, 2019
Press Release
Hearing on Police Practices includes discussion of “crisis of trust” and use of excessive force

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, questioned witnesses at a hearing on police practices and improving the relationship between the law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Many of the witnesses endorsed the principle of an independent review when deadly forced is used. Congressman Cohen and Congressman Lacy Clay (MO-01) introduced the Police Training and Independent Review Act (H.R. 125) on the first day of the new Congress in January. Further, Congressman Cohen and the witnesses discussed the importance of technology and effectively collecting and analyzing data to improve police practices. This year, Congressman Cohen introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Recording Available (CAMERA) Act (H.R. 120) and the National Statistics on Deadly Force Transparency Act (H.R. 119).  Both bills are designed to build confidence between communities and police by increasing transparency. Congressman Cohen also plans to introduce the Deadly Force Independent Review Act of 2019, which would provide for independent reviews in instances where federal law enforcement officers use deadly force. 

See Congressman Cohen’s exchange with the witnesses here

During that questioning, Congressman Cohen said: 

“I am deeply concerned about the crisis of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This is true in my own home city of Memphis, unfortunately. We are not strangers to the issue.” 

Witnesses Ron Davis, the former director of the Department of Justice’s COPS Office, and Chief Gina V. Hawkins of the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Police Department, said a level of independence, like that called for in the Police Training and Independent Review Act, is essential in building trust.  

The Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network endorsed the idea behind the CAMERA Act in his answer to Congressman Cohen.