Amid a national debate on the role of policing in society after the killing of George Floyd, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is turning its attention to subjects now in the spotlight, including police engagement with communities, accreditation of law enforcement agencies and training of new officers. During the coronavirus pandemic, the panel is holding hearings by teleconference. The Justice Department reports that the commission last week discussed accreditation and law enforcement standards with Dean Register, Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Walton County, Fl., Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Brentwood, Tn., Police Chief Jeff Hughes, Tim Bourgeois of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards; and Colorado Springs, Co., Police Chief Vince Niski.
Another panel heard from criminologist Lorie Fridell of the University of South Florida, Clearwater, Fl., Police Chief Daniel Slaughter; and criminologist David Klinger of the University of Missouri St. Louis, who also is a former police officer. Among topics discussed were the importance of implicit bias training, the impact of implicit bias on harming community-police relationship and “the need for a culture shift across the nation in order for law enforcement at all levels to perform in the safest way possible.” At a third panel focusing police training, Los Angeles police training director Luann Pannell said the number of training hours for new officers does not indicate its significance. “For every training hour we receive, we should be questioning if it is teaching [recruits] to master and replicate the same skills in the field,” she said. The Justice Department is posting transcripts of the panel’s hearings on its website, but as of July 8, no hearing after June 23 had been posted.