Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Policing Strategies Working Group Visits Atlanta

Washington, D.C. – Members of the bipartisan Policing Strategies Working Group traveled to Atlanta, Georgia on November 17-18, 2016 to meet with local community leaders and law enforcement to discuss police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues. Members who traveled to Atlanta are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Representative David Reichert (R-Wa.), and Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.)

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member Conyers and Chairman Goodlatte made the following statement on the trip to Atlanta: “Members of the Policing Strategies Working Group had a productive trip to Atlanta. We heard from local law enforcement and community leaders on how they’ve addressed the challenges of the use of excessive force by police and attacks on police, as well as what issues remain. Tragically during our time in Atlanta, Deputy Commander Pat Carothers of the U.S. Marshals Service was killed in the line of duty while serving a warrant to a fugitive in Georgia. We are saddened by this loss of life in the law enforcement community and stand shoulder to shoulder with them. We are reminded that law enforcement officers face danger every day while on duty and remain committed to finding solutions to these and other issues.”

Congressman Doug Collins, who helped coordinate the visit, said the following: “As a lifelong Georgian, I was proud to have the Policing Strategies Working Group visit Atlanta to learn some of the best practices our city and state have in place. Over the course of the trip, we had the privilege of hearing from law enforcement and community leaders and gathered information that will drive forward the conversation on policing and communities.”

Below are five pictures from the trip.

On Thursday, November 17, Emory University School of Law hosted a reception for Members of Congress, local law enforcement, and community leaders.

Congressional delegation with reception guests.

On Friday, November 18, the Members of Congress toured the United States Penitentiary (USP), Atlanta – a medium security federal prison housing over 2,200 inmates. During the tour, Warden Darlene Drew explained USP Atlanta’s reentry services for federal inmates, including those with serious mental illness.

Congressional delegation with Bureau of Prisons staff outside of USP Atlanta.

Following the prison tour, the Members participated in a law enforcement simulator at Georgia State University College of Law. During the simulator, members faced tense situations and had to determine whether or not to use force. 

Afterwards, the Members held a private roundtable with Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Deputy Chief of Police Joseph Spillane, U.S. Attorney John Horn, Apostle Roderick Hughey of The Community Church of Gainesville, Georgia State University College of Law Associate Professor Nirej Sekhon, and Morehouse College Student Body President Johnathan Hill. Members discussed the challenges law enforcement faces and mistrust among the law enforcement and African-American community.

Group photo before the start of the roundtable.

Johnathan Hill addresses the roundtable.

Following the roundtable, the members held a press conference. Watch the press conference on the Majority’s Facebook page.

Rep. Collins gives remarks to the press.

Background on the Working Group: In July 2016, Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers announced the establishment of a working group to examine police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues. The bipartisan working group is in the process of holding a series of roundtables to candidly discuss the issues fueling excessive force used by law enforcement and attacks against police officers. Read Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers’ op-ed on the working group in The Hill here.

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