Joe Biden

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Accomplishments on the Second Anniversary of Historic Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety

May 24, 2024

In the aftermath of the tragic murder of George Floyd, President Biden signed a historic Executive Order (EO 14074) affirming the Administration's commitment to ensuring that each person is treated with dignity by our criminal justice system. The Executive Order delivered a clear message: public safety requires public trust.

In the two years since, the federal government and its law enforcement agencies have acted to enshrine dignity, accountability, and trust in their work. Through collaboration and engagement with state and local law enforcement, civil rights groups, labor organizations, families impacted by police violence, and community leaders, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken important steps to improve public trust and advance public safety.

Federal policing is leading by example to become the gold standard of effectiveness and accountability. Pursuant to the Executive Order, federal agencies have improved the investigation and documentation of misconduct; implemented reforms to reduce unnecessary interactions with the criminal justice system; improved information sharing about deaths in custody; acted to minimize use of force; built greater accountability in policing; and supported officer mental health and wellness.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is providing an update on actions taken under the Executive Order two years after its signing, as well as related ongoing work:

Ensuring Federal Law Enforcement Accountability. The Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the National Law Enforcement Accountability Database (NLEAD) that contains information about misconduct by federal law enforcement officers. NLEAD is now available online to authorized government personnel for use in their hiring and other employment decisions. Every one of the 93 Executive Branch agencies that employs law enforcement officers has reported data to the NLEAD or certified that it had no misconduct records covered by the Executive Order, including three agencies that are contributing records on a rolling basis and are expected to complete submission in the coming months.

On the state level, the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, with DOJ funding, has entered into agreement with a technology vendor to expand a pre-existing national registry of state law enforcement de-certification and revocation actions relating to officer misconduct that is currently used by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the expansion, this registry will include information about the same types of misconduct as the federal database.

Minimizing Uses of Force

Banned chokeholds and no-knock warrants. Federal law enforcement agencies that employ more than 95% of federal law enforcement personnel, including DOJ, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of the Interior (DOI) have implemented policies that sharply limit the use of deadly force; banned the use of chokeholds and carotid restraints unless deadly force is authorized; and implemented early warning systems and other risk management tools that enable supervisors to identify problematic conduct and undertake interventions to help prevent avoidable uses of force. These agencies also have implemented no-knock policies that prohibit unannounced entries unless announcing would create an imminent threat of physical violence, and generally ban such entries solely to avoid the destruction of evidence. Agencies also are publicly reporting data on no-knock entries. DOJ's report is here; DHS's is here; and DOI's is here.

Publishing Data on Uses of Force. DOJ is providing training and technical assistance to federal and to state, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies to increase and improve data sharing to the FBI's National Use-of-Force Data Collection program. As of May 2024, over 11,000 law enforcement agencies – comprising approximately 71% of federal, state, Tribal, and local law enforcement officers nationwide – are contributing to the FBI's National Use-of-Force Data Collection. In 2019, it was 41%. The database compiles records regarding use-of-force incidents to showcase trends regarding outcomes from police interactions, reasons for initial contact, and the type of force used, among others. To promote transparency and increase data accessibility, the FBI publicly posts the data on its website.

Reducing Unnecessary Interactions with Law Enforcement

Prioritizing equitable enforcement of risky driving behaviors. Traffic stops are one of the most common encounters between police and the public; they must be conducted in a way that maintains public trust. Last year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) allowed the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) cooperative agreement to expire. For far too long, federal policies and programs combined with locally-driven traffic enforcement activities contributed to inequitable enforcement of traffic laws resulting in disparate burdens on communities of color. DOT is now working on new approaches for guidance that state and local entities can utilize for effective, community-based traffic safety enforcement. These new approaches include the development of a new model that will promote community-driven and evidence-based traffic law enforcement programs that prioritize safety and public trust through improved focus on risky driving behaviors such as speeding, impaired driving, and distraction, as opposed to emphasizing minor traffic violations.

Each year, DOT allocates funding to state highway safety offices to implement data-driven highway safety programs. DOT is reviewing and updating performance metrics to improve states' abilities to measure performance of their overall highway safety programs, with performance focused on road safety. Although a subset of current metrics are intended to measure traffic enforcement performance, these metrics may encourage more traffic stops in ways that are inequitable, which is not the primary objective of improving traffic safety. DOT also plans to solicit public input over the coming months as part of this process. In addition, in January 2025, as part of the annual reporting process, states will describe their evidence-based enforcement program activities, including discussion of community collaboration efforts and their work to support data collection and analysis to ensure transparency and identify disparities in traffic enforcement. Also, DOT will continue to require states to include sub-recipient information, including name and organization type, which fosters transparency about organizations receiving federal pass-through formula grant funding.

National gathering to encourage use of grants to improve traffic data collection. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)is encouraging states to apply for its Section 1906 Racial Profiling Data Collection and Section 405 Driver and Officer Safety grants, which provide funding for states to maintain publicly available statistical information on the race and ethnicity of drivers in motor vehicle stops on most public roads. To encourage more states to apply for these grants, within 90 days, NHTSA will invite all 50 states, including those that have successfully used Section 1906 funds and states that have not yet applied for these funds, to share information about these grants and discuss how states can best meet the grant requirements.

Improving Responses to Behavioral Health Crises. As many as 10 percent of all police calls involve a person with a mental illness. Providing officers better tools for responding to behavioral health crises – like co-responder teams trained in helping individuals in crisis or with a developmental disability – not only can improve safety outcomes for police and citizens but also reduce burdens on police so they can focus on violent crimes. Importantly, it also helps connect individuals to trained behavioral health professionals more quickly, ensuring they get the care they need and deserve. In August 2022, President Biden signed a bill that requires DOJ to develop first responder crisis intervention training tools to recognize and assist persons suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. Through the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris Administration also has invested $1.2 billion in Medicaid funding for crisis responders — mental health and social workers — who work alongside police officers to respond to non-violent crimes. DOJ and HHS also issued a report that provides guidance on responding to people experiencing behavioral health crises, such as encouraging the use of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and diverting certain emergency calls to trained behavioral health responders.

Promoting Accountability in State and Local Law Enforcement

Awarding Federal Grants in a Manner that Supports Accountable Local Policing. DHS will issue a bulletin this month to all grant recipients, which includes state, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies, promoting their adoption of the Executive Order's requirements, including to update their policies on the use of force, no-knock entries, and use of body-worn cameras. DHS also will host training sessions for grant recipients to educate them on the Executive Order's requirements. In the last two fiscal years, DOJ will have made available nearly $1 billion in discretionary grants funding in a manner that supports and promotes the adoption of the Executive Order's policies by state, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies.

Restricting Military Equipment for Law Enforcement. DHS, DOJ, the Department of Defense (DOD), the General Services Administration, and the Department of Treasury have acted to prevent certain militarized equipment from being sold or transferred to state, Tribal, local, and territorial, and campus law enforcement agencies. For example, DOJ prohibited the transfer or use of grant funds by state, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies to purchase certain military-style weapons and equipment.

Using Data to Understand Police Performance

Expanding Data on Deaths in Custody. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving the collection and reporting of data on deaths of persons in jails and prisons as well as those detained, under arrest, in the process of being arrested, and en route to being incarcerated. Such data are essential to identifying and resolving problems that lead to unnecessary or premature deaths, and implementing practices and policies that can reduce deaths in custody. As part of the next revision of the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will engage with states and vital record jurisdictions to evaluate the addition of a checkbox to the Standard Certificate to indicate that a death occurred in custody. The standard certificate serves as a model for individual state certificates to promote consistent data collection for every death in every vital record jurisdiction. CDC and its partners will discuss how the collection of this data can occur and to explore pilot projects. The availability of national data on deaths in custody would be of great importance to those who work in the criminal justice system, government officials, researchers, public health, and loved ones impacted by these deaths.

DOJ also is requiring states applying for funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program to submit annual implementation plans that explain how the state intends to gather and submit data on deaths in custody.

Better Understanding Perceptions of Police Performance. The Bureau of Justice Statistics implemented new questions on police performance and community safety beginning with the 2024 National Crime Victimization Survey. The questions are designed to provide an overview on perceptions of police and cover several concepts of procedural justice, including trust in police. The results of this household survey, which will be released in 2025, play a critical role in understanding crime and victimization regardless of whether the victimization is reported to law enforcement.

Supporting Collection of Comprehensive Criminal Justice Statistics. FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) captures a broad array of information about crime, including hate crimes, that is voluntarily submitted by state, Tribal, local, and territorial police agencies. To help agencies transition to the new system, DOJ and FBI provided 129 large agencies with technical assistance, subject matter expertise, and training. Since then, 64 of these agencies have adopted NIBRS. DOJ also funded $6.8 million in cooperative agreements as part of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act to help agencies transition to NIBRS. Additionally, FBI enhanced its Crime Data Explorer website by adding topic papers that utilize data to offer insights in a timely and easily understandable format for the public.

Under recently clarified guidance by the Office of Management and Budget, police agencies receiving federal grants may be allowed to classify data infrastructure as a cost that can be paid by grant funding. This funding flexibility increases law enforcement capacity to capture, use, and publish data about their actions.

Supporting Officer Wellness and Success

Improving Officer Wellness. Effective and accountable policing depends on a police force that is healthy — mentally and physically. Yet, officers are 54% more likely to die of suicide than the general population. The Administration has taken several steps to improve officer wellness. President Biden signed bills that encourage mental health and peer counseling programs for law enforcement and ensure that officers disabled in the line of duty are able to get access to their benefits quickly. In 2022, FBI launched the Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection to which agencies can voluntarily submit anonymized information about officer suicides to facilitate a better understanding of such suicides and the development of programs to prevent suicides.

DOJ also issued a report on best practices to address law enforcement officer wellness that encouraged the police, among other things, to eliminate stigma around seeking help for mental health, and a report outlining best practices for preventing officer suicides that identified resources available to state, Tribal, local, and territorial agencies. Agencies are implementing these best practices. For example, DHS will launch a multi-year, integrated awareness and education campaign involving its leadership on suicide prevention, stigma reduction, and encouragement of help-seeking behaviors.

Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Accomplishments on the Second 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/372402

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