WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — After weeks of protests across the country and frustrated gridlock in Congress, police reform seems to have taken a backseat to the pandemic and the presidential election.
However, the United States Conference of Mayors is trying to bring the issue back in the spotlight. The group outlined its vision ahead of the Democratic National Convention, and it does not include defunding the police.
“Racism isn’t just an issue area to put number 20 on your Democratic platform but one of the four main pillars of the Build Back Better Plan,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Garcetti and other USCM members introduced their bipartisan agenda for the political conventions this week. The group’s president, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, said addressing racial disparities is at the top of the list.
“Black and brown Americans are more likely to get sick and die of COVID-19, lose their jobs or businesses to the economic downturn or die at the hands of law enforcement,” Fischer said.
Their police reform plan includes uniform policies for the use of force, accountability for officers and sharing data. During the rollout of the policy last week, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor stressed it doesn’t include attempts to defund the police.
“When you boil it down and you ask the residents, your residents about defunding and let them know that means that police officers are going to come out of your neighborhood, no one’s in favor of it or very few are in favor of it,” Castor said.
The same holds true for Congress. Rep. French Hill, R-AR, said the focus is on getting community services, like substance abuse and mental health programs, to work hand in hand with police.
“To do the kind of training and policy changes that are in the President Obama recommendations, in the Donald Trump executive order, in the House and Senate bills, you need more funding for police,” Hill said.
While those negotiations continue, the mayors plan to present their ideas to the Republican National Convention next week.
Their priorities also include healthcare, housing and education reforms.
Read the full report, The Mayors’ 2020 Vision An American Breakthrough, below.
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