Jackson County sheriff says law enforcement agencies often don’t report misconduct to database

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Picture of Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — At least 44 states, including Missouri, take part in a national database where law enforcement agencies report officers’ misdeeds. When agencies get applications, they can then check this database for any red flags.

The problem is many agencies don’t report to it, Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte told FOX4.

The National Decertification Index is a database of decertified police officers and corrections officers, according to Police Chief Magazine. It is run through the Peace Officer Standards & Training Program, which is made up of agencies in each state in charge of decertifying officers based on misconduct.

“If someone’s background makes it to me, it’s not uncommon for someone just to give the date of separation and the date of hire. They won’t give you any other information,” Sheriff Forte said. “We physically go to the agency sometimes, and some of them won’t give me information.”

Forte said many agencies look the other way when an officer is discharged, and nothing mandates agencies to report it in the database.

“Something happens, and we resign, and then we show up someplace else,” Forte said.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety says that if an agency does complete an investigation into an alleged act of misconduct, state law mandates the investigation is available to any law enforcement agency that is hiring.

Several lawmakers have called for a national police misconduct registry in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The man, who was African American, died after a former police officer was seen pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The death sparked international outrage and renewed conversation surrounding police brutality.

“All the systems need to be improved. There’s no mandatory reporting,” Forte said. “People are saying they want reform, and I want to give them reform… it’s not working as it is set up, so we need something different.”

RELATED: Sheriff Forte discusses personal experience with racism within law enforcement, changes being made

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