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Wagner Votes in Support of Police Reform

Jun 25, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), Chair of the House Suburban Caucus, released the following statement after the House voted on police reform:

“George Floyd’s tragic and unjust death has ignited a powerful movement to improve policing efforts and race relations across the country, which I strongly support. For the past few weeks I have engaged with the St. Louis regional community in conversations about accountability for the use of force, transparency, and public safety.  I believe Congress should act to ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement, no matter the color of their skin. That is why today I voted in support of H.R. 7278, the JUSTICE Act, a wide-ranging reform package drafted by Senator Tim Scott that makes lynching a federal hate crime, takes action to stop the use of chokeholds, equips officers with body cameras, scales down no-knock warrants, and establishes reporting requirements to improve transparency and accountability for the use of force. We are blessed to have so many brave men and women serving as police officers, and I believe the JUSTICE Act will help them better accomplish their mission to be guardians of the people in the neighborhoods they serve.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to create impactful change for our nation and I am outraged Democrats are playing partisan political games.  Republicans offered Democrats the chance to amend and debate the legislation so we could come to a bipartisan agreement, but they rejected these offers outright.  They have attempted to cut Republicans out of their discussions and promoted policies that will deny due process to police officers and their families, defund our law enforcement, and result in frivolous lawsuits against officers who follow department guidelines, policies, and our laws.

“There are many reforms on which we agree, such as banning chokeholds, enhancing officer training, making lynching a federal crime, and improving information sharing among departments. In fact, police departments in the St. Louis area have already adopted many of the evidence-based reforms that are being called for today. We have led the nation in maintaining a gold standard of police accreditation, CALEA accreditation.

“We have a real opportunity here to come together in a bipartisan manner and ensure best practices are adopted across the nation. This can and should get done. The fact is, despite partisan rhetoric from the Democrats, we are not that far apart on policy, which makes it even more shameful to play politics and deny us the opportunity to have thoughtful debate on these important issues.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is the national accrediting authority for law enforcement. CALEA was created in 1979 by the four major law enforcement membership associations: the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. CALEA accreditation is a voluntary process by which a police agency demonstrates that it has adopted policies on a wide range of practices in policing.