Washington, DC - Last week, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice continued its series of hearings on community engagement and held a hearing on accreditation. The hearings were conducted via teleconference and featured expert witnesses who provided testimony and answered questions from the commissioners.

On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, the commission received testimony from Dean Register, Director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; Walton County (Fla.) Sheriff Michael Adkinson; Brentwood (Tenn.) Police Chief Jeff Hughes; Tim Bourgeois, Executive Director of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards; and Colorado Springs (Colo.) Police Chief Vince Niski.

The panelists discussed accreditation and standards in law enforcement. Testimonies focused on the value of accreditation and the impact it has on enhancing law enforcement and building trust in communities, what it takes to develop a successful accreditation program, the differences between state and national models, and the need for credentialing bodies to involve law enforcement practitioners and other subject matter experts to develop and maintain accreditation standards.

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the commission received testimony from Dr. Lorie Fridell, Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of South Florida; Clearwater (Fla.) Police Chief Daniel Slaughter; and Dr. David Klinger, Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The panel focused on interactions and relationships between communities and law enforcement. Testimony delved into the importance of implicit bias training, the impact implicit bias has on harming relationships between communities and law enforcement, and the need for a culture shift across the nation in order for law enforcement at all levels to perform in the safest way possible.

On Thursday, July 2, 2020, the commission received testimony from Sean Sheppard, Founder of Game Changer, and Luann P. Pannell, Ph.D., Director of Police Training and Education for the Los Angeles Police Department.

The panel focused on community engagement and respect for law enforcement. Mr. Sheppard discussed his organization’s model of using community residents to help train law enforcement in community policing and interpersonal communication. Dr. Pannell discussed the importance of adapting training to meet modern needs. For instance, she testified: “There seems to be misinformation that the number of hours of training equates to the significance or the outcome of training, and that’s just not true. It’s the quality and caliber of the training that will matter most when it comes to optimal performance in the field. For every training hour we receive, we should be questioning if it is teaching them to master and replicate the same skills in the field.”