National Security

Police organizations say failed reform proposal would have strengthened departments, not defunded them

Two police associations released a statement expressing disappointment over police reform negotiations ending on Capitol Hill last week after a bipartisan group of lawmakers said it had reached an impasse. 

"The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) are disappointed that Senate negotiators could not reach agreement on police reform legislation, and we thank all those Members of Congress who partnered with us in this effort," the joint statement from the IACP and the FOP said.

"Despite some media reports, at no point did any legislative draft propose 'defunding the police,'" the statement added. "It is our joint belief that the provisions under discussion would have strengthened the law enforcement profession and helped improve the state of community police engagement without compromising management and officers' rights, authorities, and legal protections."

On Sunday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who was negotiating reform efforts with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), claimed that the bill advocated for "defunding the police."

"We said simply this, 'I'm not going to participate in reducing funding for the police after we saw major city after major city defund the police,'" Scott said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday of Republican demands.

Meanwhile, Booker said the reform would have allocated "millions of dollars more" to police. 

"We want to help officers with mental health issues. We want to collect more data, so we should give more resources," Booker said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

The House has twice passed a sweeping bill named after George Floyd, a Black man who was killed when a white police officer kneeled on his neck, that bans chokeholds, carotid holds and "no-knock" warrants at the federal level; overhauls qualified immunity; and creates a national police misconduct registry.

But the bill has gone nowhere in the Senate, with Republicans opposed to provisions that would limit legal protections for police accused of wrongdoing. 

The police associations added in their statement that they would "remain steadfast" in their efforts to "hold ourselves accountable for our actions."