Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Norma Torres (35th District of California)
June 16, 2020
Former Long-Time 9-1-1 Dispatcher Offers Insights as Lawmakers Work to Curb Discriminatory Policing
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35) sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee this week proposing numerous amendments to the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The legislation comes amidst weeks of protests across the country following the deaths of two unarmed black Americans, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, at the hands of police officers.
Among other changes, Torres calls for:
- The national police misconduct registry to account for officers that resign before a complaint investigation is complete;
- A requirement that the Department of Justice to review and recommend standards for police officer decertification; and
- Funding to study and implement effective mental health interventions led by mental health professionals and social workers instead of police officers.
Rep. Torres, who spent 17.5 years working as a 9-1-1 dispatching for the Los Angeles Police Department, released the following statement:
“The Justice in Policing Act is a vital first step to ending systemic racism in law enforcement, and the amendments I’m suggesting will only strengthen it based on insights I gained over more than 17 years working with LAPD,” Rep. Torres said. “Not every situation requires a police response, and not every law enforcement applicant should be entrusted with a badge and gun.
“We must end the ability for a police officer to avoid the consequences of a misconduct investigation by simply resigning before it’s complete, and ensure that same officer can’t apply for another position elsewhere in law enforcement,” Torres continued. “We need the Department of Justice to take an active role in reviewing and recommending decertification standards across the country. And it’s time to make emergency response a team effort – we should not rely on police for situations where a mental health professional or social worker is better prepared.
“I commend my colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for their hard work on the Justice in Policing Act,” Torres added. “The amendments I offered today will only add to the significant reforms they’ve already included in the legislation.”
The full text of Rep. Torres’ letter is available here.