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Cato Institute on Crime

 

 


Trusting police requires access to police disciplinary files

Fatal police encounters do not happen in a vacuum. How police handle misconduct when other officers cross the line is vital to establishing trust in the community. As the recent #BlackLivesMatter activism demonstrates, there is a perception of a lack of accountability all over America. Establishing accountability at all levels of police interaction with the public is imperative to restore police legitimacy and increase public safety.

Unfortunately, all but a handful of states have considerable restrictions on access to police disciplinary files. In some states, even prosecutors cannot review those files. Federal entities that wish to encourage more open state government could look to states with publicly accessible disciplinary files and develop best practices guidance or model legislation to that effect.

Source: Cato Institute 2015-16 voting recommendation on BLM , Apr 20, 2015

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Page last updated: Jan 09, 2017