Hyde-Smith cosponsors bill to improve police training & accountability

A law enforcement reform bill has been introduced in D.C. 

The ‘JUSTICE Act’ aims to improve community safety through police training reforms and greater law enforcement accountability. Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the bill that was introduced by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.). 

According to Hyde-Smith, the bill includes incentives to ban chokeholds; programs to strengthen training methods and tactics, including de-escalation of force tactics; and strengthened reporting requirements, including best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension, and discipline.

The measure also incorporates the following bipartisan measures:  Closing the Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act, National Criminal Justice Commission Act, Justice for Victims of Lynching, Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, and Reauthorization of COPS program.

The bill comes in response to the recent death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in late-May. Since Floyd’s death, calls for reform have echoed across the country, and Hyde-Smith says that reform is far more beneficial than the calls to “defund” police departments. 

“The JUSTICE Act begins to answer the growing outcry for all Americans to believe they will be treated equally under the law in their interactions with the police,” Hyde-Smith said.

“An overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers are dedicated to doing their jobs fairly and justly.  It is, however, time to build public confidence in that truth through commonsense reforms founded on better training, accountability, and transparency. These goals cannot be met by irresponsible demands to ‘defund the police.’”

The bill will likely find support in the Republican-controlled Senate but will face opposition in the House. Minority leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the act “does not rise to the moment” and that the bill will need “dramatic improvement.”

A news release from Hyde-Smith states that Senate leadership intends to bring the bill to the Senate floor for consideration next week.