Comment On The Introduction Of The Justice In Policing Act

Today I am joining Senators Booker and Harris, and other leaders in criminal justice and policing reform, to introduce the Justice in Policing Act. The protests that have swept our nation following the murder of yet another black man by an officer of the law have once again laid bare America’s long, tragic history of systemic racial injustice.  

Many communities across the country have recognized that our justice system is far too often anything but just.  I am proud that Vermont requires all law enforcement agencies to adopt a comprehensive fair and impartial policing policy that seeks to root out bias and promote trust.  Many more communities are joining the chorus for reform today, and much work remains.  It is past time for a national conversation to rethink how we approach policing and racial justice.

I believe this legislation can serve as a foundation for this needed change.  It would require real accountability and transparency in policing, and it would fundamentally alter how law enforcement thinks about its use of force.  There is a long way to go, but today I am hopeful that the righteous demands for overdue reform in our country will not go unanswered.

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[Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a leading member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to which this bill is expected to be referred.]