Attorney General Bill Barr swears in commissioners of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice on Jan. 22, 2020. (Justice Department photo)

Barr Announces the Establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

Attorney General William P. Barr announced the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. On Oct. 28, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order No. 13896, authorizing and designating the Attorney General to create such a Commission that would explore modern issues affecting law enforcement that most impact the ability of American policing to reduce crime.

“There is no more noble and important profession than law enforcement. A free and safe society requires a trusted and capable police force to safeguard our rights to life and liberty,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “But as criminal threats and social conditions have changed the responsibilities and roles of police officers, there is a need for a modern study of how law enforcement can best protect and serve American communities. This is why the President instructed me to establish this critical Commission, whose members truly reflect the best there is in law enforcement. Together, we will examine, discuss, and debate how justice is administered in the United States and uncover opportunities for progress, improvement, and innovation.”

The Executive Order instructs the Commission to conduct its study by focusing on the law enforcement officers who are tasked with reducing crime on a daily basis. It also directs the Commission to research “important current issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” and recommends a variety of subjects for study, such as, but not limited to:

  • The challenges to law enforcement associated with mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse, and other social factors that influence crime and strain criminal justice resources;
  • The recruitment, hiring, training, and retention of law enforcement officers, including in rural and tribal communities;
  • Refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes;
  • The need to promote public confidence and respect for the law and law enforcement officers; and
  • The effects of technological innovations on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the challenges and opportunities presented by such innovations.

The Commission will principally conduct its study through a series of hearings, panel presentations, field visits, and other public meetings. At these events, the Commission will hear from subject matter experts, public officials, private citizens, and other relevant stakeholders and institutions who can provide valuable insight into these issues.

The Commissioners, appointed by the Attorney General and announced today, are urban police chiefs, state prosecutors, county sheriffs, members of rural law enforcement, federal agents, U.S. Attorneys, and a state attorney general. In addition to their diverse experiences and backgrounds, each member brings to the Commission an expertise in formulating and shaping law enforcement policy and leading police departments and law enforcement organizations.

Commissioners on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice include:

  • Chair: Phil Keith, Director, Community Oriented Policing Services
  • Vice-Chair: Katharine Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs
  • David Bowdich, Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Donald Washington, Director, United States Marshals Services
  • Regina Lombardo, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
  • Erica Macdonald, United States Attorney, District Of Minnesota
  • D. Christopher Evans, Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • James Clemmons, Sheriff, Richmond County, North Carolina
  • Frederick Frazier, City Council, McKinney, Texas/ Police Officer, Dallas Police Department
  • Robert Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County, Florida
  • Gina Hawkins, Chief of Police, Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
  • Nancy Parr, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chesapeake, Virginia
  • Craig Price, South Dakota Secretary of Public Safety
  • Gordon Ramsay, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas
  • David B. Rausch, Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
  • John Samaniego, Sheriff, Shelby County, Alabama
  • James Smallwood, Police Officer, Nashville Metropolitan Police Department

The Commission will meet monthly for the next year and then report its findings to the Attorney General, who will submit a final report to the President.

Read more at the Justice Department

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