Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of H.Res. 285, a resolution to empower the creation of police and community alliances.
Chairman Goodlatte: Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
I am pleased the House is considering this resolution today, which highlights the critical need to strengthen relationships between police departments and the communities they serve. This resolution – sponsored by the gentleman from the great Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Taylor – expresses the sense of the United States House of Representatives that Congress and the President should empower the creation of police and community alliances designed to enhance and improve communication and collaboration between members of the law enforcement community and the public.
Over the past several years, our country has witnessed the tension between certain police departments and communities come to a head. We have seen communities grieve over the loss of young men killed in police shootings. At the same time, we have seen a concerning spike in ambush attacks on police officers. We have heard complaints from communities about not being able to trust the police. We’ve also heard complaints from police that certain communities will not help the police in investigating the violent crimes that plague those very communities.
To address this strain and divide, in July 2016, the Judiciary Committee established the bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group. This group has held several roundtables and traveled around the country to speak to police departments and community leaders. Our objective is to examine police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns. Our work to highlight and address these issues is ongoing.
H. Res. 285 continues this progress by publicly supporting the creation community-police alliances so that perhaps one day, we can come to a point where there is no divide between the police and the communities they serve; no longer a sense of profound mistrust; no longer any sort of “us vs. them” mentality. When it comes to protecting and serving the community, there shouldn’t be sides. We hope for a day when everyone can realize that police departments and community leaders seek the same goals – peace, prosperity, and safety. We hope this resolution and our continued work on the policing strategies working group and the Judiciary Committee helps to continue the progress the country is making.
I would like to thank Mr. Taylor for introducing this resolution and I urge my colleagues to support it.
I reserve the balance of my time.