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Decertification of Law Enforcement Officers

WHEREAS, California is one of six states (along with New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts , and Hawaii) that lacks the authority to revoke police officers' licenses to serve-a process known as "decertification;" and 

WHEREAS, decertification is the process by which a state authority determines that an individual should not be allowed to continue exercising the duties and privileges of a law enforcement officer, typically through revoking a license; and  

WHEREAS, law enforcement officers express the government's monopoly on the use of force and should be held to the highest possible public standard; and 

WHEREAS, American law enforcement remains institutionally driven toward the coercion of the poor and people of color, most recently demonstrated again in the vicious murder of Stephon Clark; and 

WHEREAS, due to the potential and actual dangers of American law enforcement, who kill more of their own citizens than other parallel agency in the industrialized world by an almost unimaginable margin, the public must retain powers to prevent corrupt, incompetent, ineffective, and/or otherwise dangerous law enforcement officers from service; and 

WHEREAS, in states without decertification authority, officers removed or disciplined by one law enforcement agency or department are not prevented from employment in other agencies or departments; and  

WHEREAS, many police departments have a financial incentive to bring on experienced officers- even those with questionable records- in order to avoid the cost of training new ("rookie") officers; including but not limited to academy; and 

WHEREAS, training for law enforcement is arguably underfunded, out-of-date, and lacks a mechanism for tracking attendance, course quality, and decertification; and 

WHEREAS, other public professionals, arguably with fewer potential dangers to the public, can be decertified on behalf of the public good and the legitimacy of the profession lawyers can be disbarred, doctors can have their licenses revoked, even beauticians can lose their license!); and 

WHEREAS, decertification is essential to building community trust in law enforcement, in that it shows the state will not tolerate policing under a specific standard; and 

WHEREAS, P.O.S.T, officials already claim to use a common index of officers with troublesome disciplinary records, and encourage their law enforcement agencies to query it when considering a new candidate; and 

WHEREAS, The National Law Enforcement Academy Resource Network [NLEARN] already links all United States law enforcement training academies and provides a variety of information to law enforcement training managers and others interested in the different states' requirements for peace officer certification. 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for all state governments to develop and implement an efficient and effective process to decertify law enforcement officers who violate the law or fail to meet public standards for law enforcement professionals. 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for all states governments to report decertified officers to a national decertification index to ensure that decertification is effective across state lines. 

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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