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Revisiting Who Is Guarding the Guardians? A Report on Police Practices and Civil Rights in America

NCJ Number
Edward A. Hailes Jr.; Joseph Manalili
Date Published
November 2000
94 pages
This report - which supplements and updates the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' seminal report in 1981 entitled, "Who Is Guarding the Guardians? - presents a comprehensive set of guidelines and objectives for remedying police misconduct at both the Federal and State levels.
The Commission concludes that the promotion and reward systems of many law enforcement agencies are flawed, It recommends developing creative strategies that increase diversity in personnel at all levels; improving the public's perception of the police, so as to attract more applicants; encouraging recruits to have college degrees; eliminating biases in the selection system; and revising recruitment and selection methods. The Commission further recommends re-evaluating retention and promotion processes to give citizen civil rights the same priority as crime prevention. Improving the promotion rate for officers of color is also recommended. Recommendations for training topics include cultural sensitivity, use of force, racial profiling, and community policing. The Commission recommends that community members be involved in the training process in order to give prospective officers a sense of how the public views the police and their interactions with the public. Continuing training should be provided on officers' use of discretion in enforcing the law. In addition, independent government and/or community-based boards should be established to receive, process, and decide how to respond to allegations of police misconduct. Police agencies must ensure that internal investigations of police misconduct are timely, thorough, and just. The report includes a review of remedies and legal developments that have improved police accountability to the community; Appended list of Commission publications on police practices and civil rights since the publication of "Who Is Guarding the Guardians?"