President Barack Obama continues to focus his influence on change, specifically, the 21st Century Policing and Recommendations Task Force, which is committed to tackling the ongoing battle between civilians and law enforcement. With recent shootings across the country, everyone can agree that something must be done to both hold those accountable for such acts and protect those who are victimized by the power structure.
President Obama signed the executive order for this task force in December 2014, calling on the country to listen to both stakeholders and the public while identifying improvements, recommendations, and overall infrastructure changes of the current law enforcement establishment.
About the Task Force
The summer of 2014, Ferguson, MO, the streets were filled with protesters and police outfitted in full riot gear. A young black man was fatally shot and killed by a white cop, sparking the country to take to the streets and demand accountability. Michael Brown was a young teenager, his life full of promise and potential who fell victim to what some call an “all too common” altercation with law enforcement resulting in Brown’s death. Refusing to accept the notion that this was a “justified homicide” the people of Ferguson, MO began to protest, leading the country back into pains of the past.
In an effort to bring the country together, specifically those responsible for “protecting and serving” the very communities we live in, Obama released his report on the topic pointing towards a reform that would offer a new view of both the officers on-duty and the officers mindset, stating police “should embrace a guardian, rather than a warrior, mindset.”
This narrative continued throughout the report, focusing on the militarization of law enforcement. Topics ranging from decreasing military equipment available to law enforcement to rebuilding the trust of both cities and residents to avoiding quotas to bump unnecessary arrests and incarcerations. To read the full report as presented by President Obama, see full report.
Task Force Statistics
It’s been over a year since Obama first signed his executive order and set steps in motion to reform the current law enforcement establishment. So how has his task force done over the last 12 months? What changes have actually been made and what are his achievements in this vital and current topic?
Field Implementation – Since inception, the 21st Century Policing and Recommendations force has quickly taken hold in a wide range of organizational sectors including the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). This wide range of support is helping to bring cohesive implementation across all platforms to all officers.
Training– The program has also found great success in first-hand training, reporting, “More than 5,000 law enforcement personnel have attended training or educational sessions on the task force report itself, and approximately 80,000 officers have received training on topics recommended by the task force such as fair and impartial policing and procedural justice. At least 36 state and territorial peace officer standards and training (POST ) commissions are reviewing their training curricula based on the task force report, with 38 known to have started making changes based on the recommendations.”
Community Policing Tour– Now in its second phase, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch continues to visit various cities, building trust and communication between law enforcement and the community.
While we continue to work towards mending community trust, reform the mentality of our law enforcement, and implement a modern policy that represents the core values of “protect and serve”, the 21st Century Policing and Recommendations is only the first step of many needed to resolve our current crisis. To learn more about the current successes and impacts of this task force, read the full report.