Congressman Cleaver Applauds President Obama’s Decision to Strengthen Community Policing
Today, President Obama released the Administration’s Review of Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition. This review is part of a broader effort to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.
“In the weeks and months since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I have worked, along with Congressman Clay, to spur a fundamental shift in local law enforcement, away from military-style response and toward a community-based, proportionate-response style of policing,” stated Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II. “Our local police officers and law enforcement deserve the best tools and training available to protect and serve our communities. But we should not turn our cities into warzones. Today’s announcement is a positive first step, and I am encouraged to hear that many of the most important priorities we have championed will move forward. Additionally, I am pleased and proud to see that the White House has included, as examples, many of the recommendations and strategies Congressman Clay and I put forth this past August.”
The White House has provided several examples of potential improvements, including:
- ensuring that all equipment available for acquisition by law enforcement agencies has a legitimate civilian law enforcement purpose;
- including training requirements that address appropriate use and deployment of equipment;
- broadening transparency of the 1033 and other agency equipment repurpose programs; and
- requiring police officers to wear body cameras.
On August 21, 2014, Congressman Cleaver and Congressman Clay authored a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel calling for a review of the 1033 program. On August 22, 2014, Congressman Cleaver and Congressman Clay met with Secretary Hagel to discuss in depth the militarization of local law enforcement. The conversation, which was productive and positive, addressed urgent concerns about the militarization of local law enforcement agencies through the distribution of surplus Department of Defense equipment via the 1033 Program. Both Members asked the Secretary to review the program and to respond with his recommendations quickly.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and also serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.