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June 18, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson Introduces the Promoting Fair and Effective Policing Through Research Act

(Dallas, TX) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the Promoting Fair and Effective Policing Through Research Act. This legislation directs the National Science Foundation to fund social and behavioral research on policing policies, including the causes, consequences, and mitigation of police violence, supports collaborative partnerships between social science researchers, law enforcement agencies, and civil society organizations; and provides for a National Academies study to identify research gaps related to law enforcement policies, collect promising practices, and make recommendations for advancing research and implementation of proven solutions. The bill also directs NIST to expand its biometric identification research and standards activities, with a focus on identifying and minimizing biases in such systems. Finally, the bill leverages science at the Department of Homeland Security to support the reduction of excessive and lethal use of force by law enforcement.

Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) issued the following statement.

“We are a nation in mourning. Our shared anguish over the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Botham Jean and countless other black men and women at the hands of police has spurred a growing chorus of Americans to demand not only justice, but meaningful and lasting change.

“I am heartened that we, as a nation, are engaging in a substantive discourse about the role of policing in American society. We must dig deep to examine how the history and culture of policing in America has brought us to this tumultuous place. And, in our search for solutions, we must be guided by evidence grounded in data and scientific research.

“We must explore the legacy of policing and the root cause of the racial disparities we observe. We must assess the organizational influences on policing – such as recruitment, training, and performance evaluation. We must examine promising practices for promoting accountability and fostering community trust. We must study the influence of technology and big data on vulnerable populations and work to root out any biases. Finally, we must establish meaningful partnerships between law enforcement and researchers to empower jurisdictions to tailor proven solutions to meet their needs and the needs of the communities they serve.”