The rise of racialized police regimes in the United States has often triggered Biden’s response against the cruel practices.
Time and time again, President Joe Biden has vowed police reforms, but no concrete legislation has been passed as yet.
The only hope left now for criminal justice reforms in the US is through executive action.
When Biden signed a series of executive orders just after winning the presidency, he could have signed a couple of them regarding policing as well, as the police reforms led by his predecessors were as dangerous as any other policy measure.
While Biden’s agenda regarding policing, most often, rose above the executive authority facing the filibuster in the equally-divided Senate, he can still reform the police using executive actions to some extent.
The lack of these presidential actions being taken by the President sometimes depicts his absence of will.
Nonetheless, drastic police reforms are never possible in US policing, and the President needs to act using his executive authority to start small.
Even if Republicans accuse Democrats of defunding the police by these measures, the use of executive authority is an immediate necessity to bring improvement out of the police.
Let’s see how Biden can introduce police reforms in the US using presidential power.
Reestablishment of a Science Advisory Board: Using Science to Curb Crimes:
A Science Advisory Board (SAB) was created by Obama in the Department of Justice (DOJ). However, as the events unfolded, it was disbanded by President Trump in 2018.
The Biden administration has often encouraged the scientific narrative in its practice, proclaiming themselves as the champion of the scientific discourse.
This stays relevant, especially in their tackling of the pandemic. The evolving field of criminology often suggests the need to incorporate science in the criminal justice system and police reforms. This incorporation can open many closed doors for policy reforms.
First, it can easily revise the excessive punishments for petty crimes. Secondly, it can not only help police in treating the criminals better but also assisting the criminals in behaving better once released from prison.
People of color will be at the advantaged end due to the incorporation of science in the policing efforts. It’s about time that Biden makes such a board using executive authority; otherwise, Americans in general and Black people, in particular, will continue facing the music.
Biden, if he wants, can even create a more powerful board compared to Obama’s. Biden’s board should have a responsibility to present a quarterly report to the US Attorney General so that the criminal justice policies can be made accordingly.
The Militarization of US Police: Treating American Citizens and Overseas Adversaries is Never a Good Option
Before coming to power, Biden, as a candidate, was vocal about the need for “transferring weapons of war” to the police.
Not only this, but he also pledged to make a panel to scrutinize the equipment used by law enforcement. However, despite being in power, there is no sign of any such action.
The Trump administration militarized the US police by revamping the Obama-initiated reforms. The military gear used overseas in the military’s biggest operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is now present with the US police due to “Trump’s police reforms.”
Trump wrapped up the Obama reforms of containing the military equipment in the US police using executive actions.
Now, the burden lies on the shoulders of Biden to reverse Trump’s executive actions to reduce the presence of military equipment in the US police forces once again.
It is pertinent to note here that even the majority of Republicans do not support the inclusion of military equipment in policing practices.
President Biden has the authority to create a permanent working group just like Obama did to scrutinize and prevent police from obtaining dangerous weaponry.
As Trump disbanded the group, it paved the way for the domestic law enforcement agencies to obtain high-profile equipment. Many times now, both the American citizens and their warring adversaries overseas are being treated with the same equipment.
Involving Formerly Incarcerated People in Police Reforms
Involving the people having the first-hand experience of incarcerations in the justice reform system is one of the developing practices across the globe.
The Obama administration also capitalized on these practices, involving formerly incarcerated individuals in the policy-making process.
It is not a shocking reality that only those people know the reality of the justice system who have been rigorously treated by the same. Others can have a bias in their narrative, damaging the policy-making efforts.
The two famous names which the Obama administration used for this purpose are Daryl Atkinson and DeAnna Hoskins.
They served at the DOJ and Bureau of Justice, respectively, and advised the top prosecutors of the country on the much-needed policy reforms in the US criminal justice system.
President Biden, through executive authority, can make a commission manned by formerly incarcerated people, advising directly to the DOJ. This way, unbelievable reforms can be introduced into the system.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will continue to linger on in the US Senate until Democrats occupy 60 seats in the Senate midterm election or remove the filibuster altogether. Both scenarios seem extremely unlikely at the moment.
The only way Biden can start reforming the police is by signing the executive orders in line. The increasing number of racially inspired policing events in the US decry the need for these reforms.
The attorney general who recently sued Republicans for suppressing Blacks people’s right to vote should also consider advising Biden on saving the lives of Blacks. Only a combination of all of these reforms can bring justice to the DOJ itself.