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Police Chiefs and Prosecutors: Statement of Key Principles

Updated Jul 16, 2019 at 4:34 PM EST

Police Chiefs and Prosecutors: Statement of Key Principles

  • The prevention of crime should be the central focus of both police and prosecutors.
  • Disparate racial impact resulting from justice system policies and practices is a longstanding concern that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.
  • Police and prosecutors should collaborate in advance of enacting criminal justice reforms to ensure a smooth implementation and give agencies the opportunity to update policies, procedures and training, as needed.
  • Police and prosecutorial agencies have limited resources. Priority should be placed on the investigation and prosecution of serious violent crime.
  • To have the greatest impact on violent crime, police and prosecutors should strategically target those offenders responsible for the most serious crime.
  • Violence associated with the distribution of marijuana and other illegal drugs is a major concern in some cities. Police and prosecutors need to analyze this relationship and develop strategies that address this type of violence.
  • For many offenders accused of non-violent, low-level crimes, processing them through the criminal justice system is not the most efficient use of limited resources, nor does it consistently produce the desired outcomes of changing behavior. There need to be alternative approaches available for these suspects.
  • A robust network of supportive community services is needed to keep people from cycling through the criminal justice system. These services are especially important for people with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues who enter the justice system.
  • Quality-of-life issues are a major concern in many communities. Police, prosecutors, other government agencies, and community stakeholders need to work collaboratively to address these concerns through a range of strategies.
  • The voices and concerns of crime victims and survivors should be incorporated into the entire criminal justice process.
  • Police and prosecutors should work together to train police officers on how to develop stronger, evidence-based cases, especially cases involving the illegal possession of firearms.
  • More research is needed to understand the relationship between low-level crimes/quality-of-life concerns and more serious crime.

A statement created by a group of police chiefs and prosecutors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and seven other large U.S. cities, after a June 24, 2019, meeting in Washington, D.C.