National registry for officers who committed misconduct being tested in LA
The goal of the database is to prevent cops who have been fired or resigned from getting rehired at another police department
USC’s Safe Communities Institute is developing a national database of police officers who have been terminated or resigned due to misconduct.
The first-of-its-kind registry is called the Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System, or LEWIS registry, named after late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis. The LEWIS Registry aims to bring transparency and accountability to law enforcement, and the announcement coincides with the one-year anniversary of the police-killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
The registry, per NBC News, will utilize public records to document officers who have been fired or resigned due to “excessive use of force, corruption, domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, perjury, hate group affiliation, or filing a false police report,” the outlet writes. The goal of the database is to prevent corrupt and rotten to the core cops from getting rehired at another police department, the report states.
“The common term is called bouncing and they bounced from department to department. California, unfortunately, is one of five states that when you get terminated, you keep your post,” said Dr. Erroll Southers, director of USC Safe Communities Institute, and a former police officer and FBI agent.
“We’re only focused on officers that have been terminated, resigned due to misconduct so they can’t go to another department. We think that agencies across the country need to know who they are. They need to know where they came from and to give them an opportunity to not rehire them,” said Southers.
Southers co-founded the LEWIS registry along with DreamView President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Güez Salinas. DreamView’s mission is “to create disruptive technology for global social change.” The registry, while still in its testing phase, currently includes records of incidents involving more than 200 officers.
“I want transparency,” Los Angeles civil rights attorney DeWitt Lacy said. “I want to see the law enforcement community be a little more cooperative. I think we can work together, and kind of bridge the gap. The adage is one bad apple spoils the bunch, not one bad apple and it’s OK.”
The Police Protective League noted in a statement its privacy concerns about the database. “We have serious concerns over any private entity that promotes their own database as it lacks public accountability and safeguards to ensure that officers are not mistakenly added to the private database for unverified and invalidated complaints, and/or which discloses officer’s personal information, such as home addresses,” the statement said.
The group said it has “called on Congress to enact a National Police Misconduct Registry for officers fired for gross misconduct or who have been decertified by their respective states after their case has been fully adjudicated.” Their complete plan can be found at investinpolicing.com.
The Police Protective League, which represents thousands of members of the LAPD, agrees that “If you’re a proven bad officer in any city, you should not be an officer in any other city.”
Southers and his team are currently developing a process to add and remove names from the registry. The online portal is expected to be available to the public this fall.
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