Regarding the May 9 news article “Small police departments complicate efforts for change”:

Hundreds of licensed professions are held to consistent, statewide standards. Lawyers in international firms and solo practices all follow the same state bar rules. Doctors in major hospitals and small clinics adhere to the same medical board regulations. Yet law enforcement officers face different levels of accountability and oversight depending on whether they’re in a major city or a small town. This discrepancy undermines the ability of the public to hold officers responsible when they fail to protect and serve. All too often, bad cops can leave the scrutiny of large departments and find new jobs — and less oversight — in smaller agencies. Luckily, we’re starting to see policymakers confront this broken system. Illinois and Maryland recently passed statewide policing standards. The California legislature is also debating its own reforms in Senate Bill 2, which would create a statewide investigation and decertification process. 

Federal police reforms should create rules so that people in metropolises and sparse counties alike can rest comfortably knowing their law enforcement officers will be held to consistently high standards. 

Walter Katz, New York

The writer is vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures.