New York, NY, February 14, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today testified for the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing at a public hearing in Phoenix, Arizona on the topic of training and education. The Task Force, established by President Barack Obama in December 2014, is charged with identifying ways to strengthen public trust and foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they protect while also promoting effective crime reduction.
The Task Force consulted ADL for specific recommendations to consider in the area of training law enforcement on police-community relations and the work the League has done through its Law Enforcement and Society (LEAS) training program in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Law Enforcement and Society drives home two fundamental concepts. First, their jobs, identity and sacrifice are connected to and defined by their relationship to the people they serve,” said David Friedman, ADL Director of National Law Enforcement Initiatives, who testified on behalf of ADL at the hearing. “If they forget that if people do not trust them, if they are feared, they have failed. Second, the only real safeguard we have from abuse is the conscious decision that each officer makes to act according to the profession’s core values which revolve around his or her role as a protector of the people, all people.”
ADL also presented a series of formal recommendations to the Task Force including:
- The Department of Justice and the COPS Office should work with ADL and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to expand Law Enforcement and Society training to selected jurisdictions. Special emphasis should be placed on expanding LEAS training to law enforcement executives.
- Expand education and training opportunities that strengthen law enforcement’s understanding of core values and their role as protectors of individual rights and the Constitution.
- Increase leadership training opportunities for law enforcement commanders focused on ways to sustain core values and pass them on to the next generation of law enforcement.
- Increase training opportunities in which community groups and leaders can have an integral role, such as with hate crime training.
- Promote the Department of Justice revised and updated federal profiling guidance for law enforcement, which expands protection on the basis of gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring that law enforcement conduct their activities in an unbiased manner.
- Congress and the Administration should support outreach programs to promote an inclusive and diverse police force that better reflects the racial, ethnic, and religious communities it serves.
- Department of Justice and the COPS Office should promote best practices in hate crimes training. With funding from Congress, the FBI, the Justice Department, and US Attorneys should incentivize police participation in the FBI’s HCSA date collection program through national recognition, targeted funding, matching grants for HCSA-related training, and replication of effective programs.
As one of the nation’s most respected civil rights organizations, ADL has a unique understanding of the needs and expectations of the people and communities in our nation and of the men and women who serve and protect us. The League is also the foremost non-government organization training law enforcement, conducting seminars more than 10,000 law enforcement professionals each year. LEAS was created in 1998 at the request of Charles H. Ramsey, then the new Chief of Police of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The training begins with an examination of the Holocaust and the conduct of police under the Nazis, and is followed by an interactive discussion of the role of police today. LEAS increases law enforcement’s understanding of their relationship to the people they serve and their role as protectors of individual rights and the Constitution. The training examines the centrality of trust in the relationship between the people and police, and provides strategies to assist in building trust, changing community perceptions and understanding the role of a law enforcement professional in a democracy.
LEAS has trained more than 95,000 law enforcement personnel, including the senior police leaders from 85 foreign countries. The program has been a mandatory part of the training for every FBI New Agent since 2000, and has been incorporated into all of the FBI’s major training programs for U.S. and international law enforcement leaders.
In addition to the national program in Washington, D.C., LEAS training programs have been established in St. Louis, Houston, New York, Phoenix, and Tampa, and will be launched in Los Angeles in 2015.