Today the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper A Contract for Public Safety: A Model for the 21st Century.
“Far too often, law enforcement officers are found guilty in the court of public opinion before being afforded their due process rights,” says Sheriff (Ret.) Currie Myers, Ph.D., senior visiting fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “In addition, elected officials have spoken against police officer misconduct prior to due process being afforded, creating antipathy for law enforcement. Further, police unions, through the collective bargaining process, have made such areas as officer discipline, new training standards, and new policies more difficult to institute.
“Law enforcement executives, elected leaders, and police unions must find common ground regarding the role of police departments in their respective communities and agree to limitations to collective bargaining agreements that adversely affect good public policy and instead pursue a codified set of legitimate protections through state legislation, such as a contract for public safety.”
Recommendations that should be part of a Contract for Public Safety include:
- Reaffirm police officers’ due process rights, as afforded by the U.S. Constitution.
- Limit the scope of collective bargaining agreements and consider the elimination of binding arbitration related to officer discipline, use of force, and training.
- Embrace transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system and include an ombudsman-type system that allows for effective communication between law enforcement and the community in which they serve.
- Entrust a state investigative agency with the investigation of police-related shootings and police aggravated batteries instead of the police department or another agency appointed by the department that has direct involvement in the investigation.
- Focus on new leadership standards that are more inclusive of the employees as well as the community in a more bottom-up approach to leadership.
- Ensure that meaningful performance reviews of police officers are considered.
- To help govern police departments, establish police boards or commissions made up of various members of the community and appointed by various elected officials at the local, county, and state levels.
- Embrace federal databases that track complaints against officers.
To read the paper in full, please visit: