Rep. Torres asks for stronger provisions in police reform bill

Rep. Torres asks for stronger provisions in police reform bill

Democratic Rep. Norma TorresNorma Judith TorresHouse Democrat says she sleeps with gun nearby after clashing with El Salvador's president Harris, Hispanic Caucus meet on Central America House Democrats call for paid legal representation in immigration court MORE (Calif.) is asking party leaders to include a provision in their police reform bill that would require police departments to continue investigations into officer misconduct even if that officer resigns.

A former 911 dispatcher, Torres said officers often resign after a misconduct investigation is launched in hopes that the department will drop it. This allows them to avoid a disciplinary record and move to a different police department, she said.

The provision is one of a number of proposals Torres announced Tuesday to toughen the sweeping police reform bill unveiled by Democrats last week.


She is also asking that the legislation include provisions that ensure state law enforcement certifications “are strong enough to prevent hiring officers that conduct misconduct.” As currently written, the bill asks states to ensure officers hired to police departments fulfill state certifications. 

Her proposal would also ask police departments to report any use of quotas to the Justice Department for review. 

Torres is also asking for funding to study the implementation of mental health crisis interventions “in which health professionals and social workers are involved in response to needs related to mental health" and to include funding for studying the effect of trauma on officers, citing a study that found officers who witness the injury of a peer officer have an increased probability of using force. 

The Democrats' bill would, among other things, repeal the qualified immunity doctrine, which protects police officers from lawsuits. Republicans are working on their own police reform bill as well.

It is scheduled for markup in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is poised to move through the Democratic-controlled chamber. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip, said on Friday that they had 220 co-sponsors for the bill.