Jackson County sheriff calls for state registry to identify officers terminated for abuse of power

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Holding officers accountable–that is the premise of a new bill to create a national registry detailing officer misconduct.

Right now if a police officer is kicked off the force, the reasons for it remain private.

It’s a personnel issue, and many police unions and politicians work hard to make sure that report is kept secret.

This loophole makes it hard for an agency such as the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, which might end up hiring a deputy who abused his or her power in the past.

Sheriff Darryl Forte tweeted Monday night that he has a solution to the problem.

“I’m going to push for a State Police Misconduct Registry to identify officers who are terminated for misconduct or abuse of power,” Forte said. “They should be prohibited from transferring to other agencies. This is a small step in the community trust building process.”

Missouri does not have a registry documenting officer misconduct, but Kansas and ten other states do.

USA Today spent the past few years uncovering officer misconduct records and recently published its own database documenting 200,000 incidents of officer misconduct across the nation.

They identified 8,500 officers in those cases – many who are still working.

Recent events across the nation, though, have lawmakers demanding change, saying a national registry detailing excessive force incidents would weed out the bad police officers from the good ones.

“Never again should the world be subjected to what we saw on the streets of Minneapolis,” California Rep. Karen Bass said. 

“I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly said. “I think this will be not a moment but a movement”

No Republicans have yet signed onto this bill, which would also ban all types of choke holds and make it easier to prosecute officers if their actions lead to death.

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