Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds White House Initiatives to Increase Accountability in Policing

Media 05.18,15

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the White House released a set of reforms and tools intended to increase transparency and accountability in policing and improve police-community relations:

“We applaud these initiatives as important steps toward improving police accountability and relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve at a time when our nation is making global headlines for police violence in places like Baltimore, Cleveland, North Charleston, Staten Island, and Ferguson.

The final report of the White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing provides a roadmap for the nation to more effectively address issues of discriminatory profiling, excessive use of force, and both implicit and explicit racial bias in policing.

We commend the President’s Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group for providing recommendations to ensure that police departments are properly resourced but not needlessly militarized. Banning the use of certain equipment such as grenade launchers and weaponized aircraft and vehicles will ensure that our police forces are more properly suited for protecting communities rather than engaging in warfare. The initiative establishes important checks and balances on agencies through safeguards, policies, training, and protocols for especially dangerous weapons.

And as states and localities across the country begin deploying body-worn cameras, the toolkit published by the Bureau of Justice Assistance is an important complement to the principles released by 34 civil rights and privacy groups last week.

The policing crisis is impacting communities nationwide and today’s announcement shows that the President is listening and taking steps toward a better future for all of us. We look forward to working with the administration and law enforcement on the implementation of these critical recommendations.”

Wade Henderson is president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit