FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Accomplishments on Anniversary of Historic Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety
One year ago, on May 25, 2022, President Biden signed a historic Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety. (EO 14074). The EO went into effect on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd.
Through EO 14074, the President put federal policing on the path to becoming the gold standard of effectiveness and accountability by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to: ban chokeholds; restrict no-knock warrants; mandate the use of body-worn cameras; implement stronger use-of-force policies, including with the duty to intervene and duty to render medical aid; provide de-escalation training; submit use-of-force data to the FBI's Use-of-Force Data Collection; submit officer misconduct records into a new national accountability database; and restrict the sale or transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, among other things. The EO also directs the use of federal tools, such as guidance on best practices, technical assistance, and grantmaking to support similar reforms within state, Tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) law enforcement agencies.
Agencies across the federal government have made significant progress in implementing the requirements of the EO. Recognizing that effective implementation of the EO requires not just a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-society effort, agencies also have engaged directly with stakeholders throughout the implementation process, including with law enforcement associations, civil rights groups, labor organizations, technical experts, and families impacted by police violence.
The Administration remains committed to fully implementing the EO and strengthening public trust and public safety. And the President continues to call for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to advance accountability, transparency, and public trust in law enforcement. Real change at the state and local level requires Congressional action.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is providing a status update on actions taken under the Executive Order in the following areas:
The Executive Order has resulted in concrete actions to increase law enforcement accountability.
- Restrictions on Access to Certain Military Equipment: DHS, DOD, DOJ, GSA, and Treasury have taken steps to ensure that certain militarized equipment—including certain firearms and ammunition, bayonets, grenades and grenade launchers, explosives, and certain vehicles and aircraft—are not sold or transferred to STLT law enforcement agencies. These restrictions will strengthen public trust while ensuring state and local law enforcement agencies can access and use needed equipment for appropriate purposes, such as active shooter scenarios.
- Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Other Protected Characteristics: DOJ updated its 2014 Guidance on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity. The updated guidance, which explains the restrictions on relying on race and other protected characteristics, strengthens existing protections, including by adding disability as a protected category.
- Deaths in Custody Investigations: DOJ published guidance for STLT law enforcement agencies for investigating deaths in custody.
- Pattern or Practice Investigations: DOJ strengthened communication with State Attorneys General on pattern or practice investigations and enhanced protocols for federal investigations of federal civil rights violations by law enforcement officers.
- Internal Investigations: Federal agencies, including DOJ and DHS, analyzed and made necessary updates to their internal processes for investigating use-of-force incidents involving their law enforcement components.
- National Law Enforcement Accountability Database: DOJ partnered with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) to establish the National Law Enforcement Accountability Database. IADLEST runs the National Decertification Index (NDI), a national registry of law enforcement de-certification and revocation actions relating to officer misconduct that is currently used by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Department is working with IADLEST to: (1) expand upon the existing NDI to include the additional categories of information required by the Executive Order; and (2) establish a system for making available Federal law enforcement records based on the NDI model. The Department aims to have the database launched by the end of the year.
The Executive Order raises standards for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
- Use of Force Policies: Federal law enforcement agencies, including DOJ, DHS, and DOI, which encompass more than 90% of all federal law enforcement officers, have adopted policies that:
- Emphasize the importance of valuing and preserving human life;
- Allow the use of deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person;
- Require training in and employing where feasible de-escalation tactics and techniques;
- Explicitly include the affirmative duty to intervene to prevent or stop another officer from using excessive force;
- Explicitly include the affirmative duty to request and/or render medical aid, as appropriate.
- Chokeholds and No-Knock Entry Policy: Federal executive law enforcement agencies, including DOJ, DHS, and DOI, which encompass more than 90% of federal law enforcement officers, banned chokeholds and carotid restraints, unless deadly force is authorized, and limited the use of "no-knock" entries.
- Body-worn Cameras (BWC): Federal law enforcement agencies, including DOJ, DHS, and DOI, which encompass more than 90% of all federal law enforcement officers, issued policies requiring officers to wear and activate BWC recording equipment for purposes of recording their actions during a pre-planned attempt to serve an arrest warrant or other pre-planned arrest or the execution of a search or seizure warrant or order, and included a presumption that BWC recordings depicting conduct resulting in serious bodily injury or death of another will be released as soon as practical.
- Strengthening recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of law enforcement officers. An Office of Personnel Management (OPM)-led working group of federal law enforcement agencies has developed an action plan identifying a set of core policies and best practices to be used across all federal law enforcement agencies regarding recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention. The working group also identified best practices for performance evaluations and promotion decisions for federal law enforcement officers, as well as for conducting background investigations and implementing properly validated selection and screening procedures.
Supporting State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Law Enforcement
Through federal tools such as guidance, technical assistance, and grantmaking, the Executive Order encourages and supports state, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies to adopt and implement best practices.
- Grantmaking: Key federal agencies are awarding discretionary grants in a manner that supports and promotes the adoption of the Executive Order's policies by STLT law enforcement agencies. For example, starting with the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 grant cycle, in relevant solicitations, DOJ included language outlining priority consideration for applicants that have policies or practices in line with substantive provisions of the Executive Order for which the Department has issued policies, guidance, or best practices. The Department will expand the list of priority considerations in solicitations for FY 2024 and going forward, to include best practices and guidance the Department has developed and published in recent months. HHS included similar language for its Mental Health Awareness Training Grant program and its Behavior Health Partnership for Early Diversion of Adults and Youth program. DHS will include incentivizing language in its discretionary grants to STLT law enforcement agencies beginning in FY 2024, where appropriate.
- Accreditation Standards: DOJ created first-of-their-kind accreditation standards to encourage STLT law enforcement agencies to adopt policies consistent with those highlighted in the Executive Order. These standards were developed in consultation with accrediting bodies, law enforcement stakeholders, and civil rights groups, and are designed to help ensure STLT law enforcement agencies seeking accreditation are following best policing practices in such areas as:
- Hiring and performance evaluation of officers and supervisors;
- Use of force policies in line with DOJ's policy;
- Directives on the use of in-car and body-worn cameras; and
- Submission of important crime data to the FBI.
- Officer Wellness: DOJ and HHS published a report outlining best practices for STLT law enforcement agencies regarding officer wellness and will soon publish a second on preventing law enforcement suicide, both of which are based on engagement with dozens of stakeholder groups.
- Guidelines for Emergency Responses to People with Behavioral Health or Other Disabilities: HHS and DOJ jointly developed guidance regarding emergency responses to calls and interactions with people in behavioral or mental health crisis or persons who have disabilities. The guidance addresses response models and the facilitation of post-crisis support services as well as federal resources, including Medicaid, that can be used to implement established and emerging best practices.
- Notifications of Deaths in Custody: DOJ published guidance for STLT law enforcement agencies on best practices for notifications to families of individuals who die in law enforcement custody, including timely and appropriate notification of, and support to, family members.
- Studying the Impact of Use-of-Force Incidents on Communities. HHS published a report examining the effects of use of force by law enforcement officers on individual and community physical, mental, and public health.
Improving Conditions of Persons Incarcerated or Under Supervision
The Executive Order directed actions to improve conditions of confinement and promote better outcomes for individuals who are incarcerated or under supervision.
- The White House Alternatives, Rehabilitation, and Reentry Strategic Plan. As mandated by the EO, in April the Biden-Harris Administration released its evidence-informed, multi-year Strategic Plan to strengthen public safety by reducing unnecessary criminal justice system interactions so police officers can focus on fighting crime; supporting rehabilitation during incarceration; and facilitating successful reentry. The plan builds upon President Biden's Safer America Plan – his comprehensive strategy to prevent and combat gun crime and violence – and outlines more than 100 concrete policy actions to strengthen public safety and improve the criminal justice system by leveraging data, research, and proven successful strategies from state and local governments across the country.
- Restrictive Housing: DOJ published a report on BOP's use of restrictive housing and efforts to reduce its use. The report also highlights BOP's work to address and decrease the use of restrictive housing, including partnering with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to study and provide recommendations on BOP's use of restrictive housing and creating a task force of senior BOP officials to conduct a more immediate assessment and provide recommendations.
- Conditions of Confinement: DOJ published a report outlining conditions of confinement for individuals in BOP and U.S. Marshal Service (USMS) custody and planned steps to continue to improve medical care and health outcomes, expand services for women in custody and Medication-Assisted Treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder.
- First Step Act: DOJ published a report on efforts to fully implement the provisions and intent of the First Step Act, including by:
- Maximizing the availability of time credits to eligible people in BOP custody;
- Assessing and updating the PATTERN assessment;
- Increasing the availability of Evidence Based Recidivism Reduction programs;
- Providing and expanding access to Medication Assisted Treatment for individuals with opioid substance use disorders; and
- Evaluating and enhancing BOP's rehabilitation and reentry programs.
- Probation and Supervised Release Resources: DOJ, in consultation with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and the Federal Defender Service, published a report on the resources available to individuals on probation or supervised release, including how DOJ has utilized resources to facilitate successful outcomes for individuals on probation or supervised release.
Strengthening Data Collection and Technology
The Executive Order has led to significant actions to improve data collection and analysis and assess the impact of new technologies.
- Tracking data on use-of-force incidents. Federal law enforcement agencies are collecting and submitting on a monthly basis all data on incidents involving use of deadly force compiled by the FBI's Use-of-Force Data Collection.
- Encouraging STLT Participation in National Use-of-Force Data Collection: DOJ provided training and technical assistance to federal and STLT law enforcement agencies for contributing data to the FBI's National Use-of-Force data collection program.
- Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted: DOJ provided training and technical assistance to STLT law enforcement agencies for contributing data to the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted data collection program.
- Death in Custody Reporting Act: DOJ published a report outlining steps it has taken to fully implement the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2013 and identified strategies to increase reporting and improve the collection overall.
- National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS): DOJ published a report on the efforts, led by the FBI and Bureau of Justice Assistance, to assist STLT law enforcement agencies transition to NIBRS.
- Review of Current Data Collections: DOJ and OMB will publish a report on efforts to improve current data collections, such as the National Crime Victimization Survey, the Police-Public Contact Survey Supplement, and the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics Survey.
- Data Reporting: The Criminal Justice Statistics Interagency Working Group and Domestic Policy Council assessed data collection, use, and transparency practices with respect to law enforcement activities. The Working Group published a report on recommended actions the federal government, state lawmakers, law enforcement, and advocates can take to improve data on policing at national and local levels.
- Advanced Surveillance and Forensic Technologies. A working group on advanced surveillance and forensic technologies will make recommendations to the President pertaining to acquisition, use, and oversight.
Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Accomplishments on Anniversary of Historic Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/362992