WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) co-sponsored the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, which aims to improve law enforcement practices and strengthen the relationship between police officers and their communities.
“As a veteran, I fought for the principle that all men are created equal – and I know the fight for equality is a continuous effort,” Waltz said. “This is why I’m proud to co-sponsor the JUSTICE Act to improve accountability, promote transparency and provide better training for our law enforcement. Most of our law enforcement officers are committed to making a positive impact on our communities but we have seen the bond between police and their communities needs repairing. I am proud to join my colleagues on legislation to strengthen that bond while working together towards justice and equality.”
The JUSTICE Act was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) introduced the House version on Thursday. The bill currently has over 120 co-sponsors.
Highlights of the legislation include:
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
The bill reforms 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
The JUSTICE Act will put more body cameras on the streets and ensure departments are both using the cameras and storing their data properly
Requires report establishing best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension and discipline of law enforcement officers
Requiring reporting on when, where and why no-knock warrants are used
Currently, only about 40 percent 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 JUSTICE Act would require full reporting in these two areas
Justice for Victims of Lynching
Makes lynching a federal crime and sends a clear message to those that promote hate: their bigoted views have no place in the United States of America
Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act
The bipartisan Commission will issue a wide-ranging report on conditions affecting black men and boys, including education, health care, financial status and the criminal justice system