Police unions across the country continued to fight important police reforms, including reforms that enjoy wide support among police and criminal justice experts.
In Boston, the police union fought the adoption of body cameras. First, the union pressured the department to make them voluntary for officers; then it discouraged its members from volunteering; and finally it went to court to block their implementation altogether (the suit failed). Read the story: bostonunionbodycams
Body cameras are rapidly being adopted by police departments across the country, and are supported by virtually all police chiefs.
Even when union opposition efforts fail, they succeed in polarizing the community and delaying the eventual reforms.
In Newark, the police union went to court to block the implementation of a new civilian review board, which was part of the consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department. Read the story: newarunioncitizenreview
In Baltimore, the police union also went to court in an unsuccessful attempt to block the implementation of a new civilian review board. Read the story: baltunioncitizenrev
Civilian oversight of the police has gained broad public support in recent years. The National Association for Civilian Oversight of the Police (NACOLE) estimates that there are about 150 civilian oversight agencies in the country. The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended some form of citizen oversight for all communities Read the Task Force report here.
In San Francisco, the police union sponsored inflammatory television ads opposing a new use of deadly force policy for the SFPD that would prohibit shooting at moving vehicles. Read the story: sf-unionshootingvehicles
The New York City Police Department banned shooting at vehicles in 1972, and virtually all police departments have done the same.
Finally, and most seriously, the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has recommended to the in-coming Trump administration “de-prioritize” “some or all” the recommendations of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Read the FOP statement: foptrump
In short, the FOP stands in opposition to the best thinking in policing, which is represented in the President’s Task Force report.