Police Reform and Racial Justice

Mayors are — justifiably — held accountable for what happens in America’s cities. Reform and public safety are not mutually exclusive. The two goals can and should complement each other, and we must take steps to further that alignment, achieving better public safety outcomes through cooperation and respect between the police and the community.

Acknowledging the urgent need to reset the relationship between our police and our residents, the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Police Reform and Racial Justice is focused on real, workable, sustainable recommendations to reform policing.

U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Report on Police Reform and Racial Justice

There is widespread consensus about what needs to be done to reform policing in America. On June 30, 2020, we issued a Statement of Principles for reform, a report that builds upon previous efforts to address police reform, including the May 2015 report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, our own reports on police-community relations in 2015 and 2016, and years of research and reports from the Police Executive Research Forum, including the Guiding Principles on Use of Force.

This report is a summary of our recommendations — organized around the Principles of policing that the Conference has already adopted — to give cities a blueprint for the implementation of real and lasting change.

Principles of Policing and Recommendations to Achieve Them

Trust and Legitimacy
Redefining the Role of Local Police and Public Safety
Sanctity of Life
Equality and Due Process
Transparency and Accountability to Reinforce Constitutional Policing

We must acknowledge the failures of our current system as well as our country’s history of racism in policing and its impacts on communities of color. An important step is understanding that the challenges in policing we are experiencing now are borne of decades of our encouragement and support for a “law enforcement first and only” approach to public safety that devolved into a militarized and aggressive policing model. This, in turn, resulted in deepening historic divides, particularly between police and communities of color and other marginalized individuals and populations. By acknowledging this past, we can be effective in addressing inequalities in how we police and ensuring that police treat those they serve with fairness and respect.

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