With Slow Progress On Federal Level, Police Reform Remains Patchwork Across U.S.
May 28, 2021
The guilty verdict of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is seen as a significant step forward in holding police accountable for misconduct however, advocates and family members of those killed by police say policing is still in need of structural changes.
A flurry of legislative and policy proposals at every level of government in the U.S. followed last summer's protests. Cities such as Minneapolis, Seattle and Austin committed to rethinking police funding. Lawmakers in all 50 states put forward more than 2,000 bills related to policing in the last year.
But successes have been patchwork, mostly concentrated in blue states and cities facing outcry over local incidents of deadly force by police officers. Many other statehouses have seen little concerted effort to reform policing. And in Congress, partisan disagreements have so far prevented any bill from passing.
A bill in Colorado signed into law last June made that state the "ground zero" for police reform, Howard Henderson, founding director of the Center for Justice Research at Texas Southern University, told the Mountain West News Bureau.
That bill, known in Colorado as Senate Bill 217, imposed wide-ranging new rules on law enforcement agencies and prosecutors handling police use of force cases. It also permanently revokes professional certification for officers who have been found in court to have used inappropriate force, preventing them from being re-hired elsewhere.