Establishment of a National Commission of Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

WHEREAS, today in many parts of the United States, there is a serious and widening gap developing between police agencies and the communities they serve; and, WHEREAS, concerns over highly publicized incidents of use of force, racial profiling, corruption, and instances of unethical behavior of police officers and executives have laid the groundwork for many of our citizens to believe that the problems are widespread and deeply rooted, and WHEREAS, the separation that has occurred is especially frustrating since it comes at a time when considerable emphasis has been given to programs that focus on police-community partnerships and at a time when violent crime has been reduced to its lowest level in decades. WHEREAS, these concerns encompass not only law enforcement but spread to all the participants in the criminal justice system - to the courts, to prosecutors along with corrections and probation officials; and, WHEREAS, for all of these elements to perform in an effective manner that ensures justice and leads to orderly and peaceful communities, we must do everything we can to maintain a trusting and confident relationship with all of our citizens in every part of the country; and, WHEREAS, in 1965 President Lyndon Johnson issued an executive order establishing the Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recognizing, as he said, “the urgency of the Nation’s crime problem,” and, WHEREAS, the Commission labored for a year and a half producing 200 specific recommendations involving federal, state and local governments, civic organizations, religious institutions, business groups, and individual citizens that were intended to create a safer and more just society: and, WHEREAS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police believes that the work of the 1967 Commission, embodied in its report, “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society,” was indeed effective and that the commission and its recommendations marked the beginning of a sea change in our methods for dealing with crime and the public and built the framework for many of the exemplary programs that continue today; and, WHEREAS, it is the view of the International Association of Chiefs of Police that the time has come, once again, to create a national commission to conduct a comprehensive review of law enforcement and the administration of justice in the United States and to provide the nation with a measured response to crime; now, therefore be it RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police calls on President-Elect Bush to establish a national commission charged with conducting a comprehensive review of law enforcement and the administration of justice in the United States; and be it FURTHER RESOLVED, that this commission adopt the following principles to guide its work:
  1. The commission should include all of the elements of the criminal justice system in its examination.
  2. The commission should be comprised of individuals from within and outside the criminal justice system and that every effort be made to include—and to hear from every stakeholder in this process—individuals with the broadest possible perspective on the areas selected for review and concentration.
  3. The commission must be given all the resources it needs to conduct a rigorous and thorough investigation and that it be given sufficient time to conduct an exhaustive review.
  4. The commission should, as part of its review, study the threats, challenges and opportunities created by these significant advances in technology over the last 30 years.
  5. The commission examination should be conducted in a thoroughly non-partisan manner.