National League of Cities Urges Federal Action on Police Reform

June 18, 2020 - (3 min read)

Washington, D.C. – The National League of Cities’ (NLC) Board of Directors unanimously approved a Resolution on the Use of Force by Municipal Law Enforcement Officers. “NLC believes that trust between law enforcement officers and the people they serve and protect is essential to a municipality’s stability, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services,” says the resolution.

The resolution calls on the Department of Justice to update the Use of Force Continuum and makes a clear ask to Congress to pass additional legislation including:

  • Establish a federal technical assistance and grant program that help local governments to establish violence interrupter programs and initiatives that employ community members with expertise.
  • Provide additional funding for the community oriented policing grants program to help local law enforcement agencies to implement and improve racial bias and de-escalation training.
  • Establish National Database of Decertified Officers that local governments can use to vet officers who have been dismissed for such issues as unnecessary or excessive use of force, abuse of power, racial discrimination, and violation of individual’s civil rights.
  • Provide technical and grant assistance to local governments to establish civilian oversight boards to investigate officer use of force violations.

“As a former police officer and now a Councilmember in Los Angeles, I know that public safety is the most important service cities can deliver to their resident,” said Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles Council President Pro Tempore and President, National League of Cities. “I’m proud of the action taken by the Board today and the commitment to national change that puts the health and safety of our residents above all else.”

Additionally, NLC will move towards developing recommendations on how municipal leaders can ensure their law enforcement agencies “use of force policies” are appropriate, including prohibiting the use of chokeholds, requiring officers to use de-escalation techniques, and enforcing a duty to intervene when use of force is excessive.

“While we appreciate the speed at which Congress and the Administration are moving to reform our nation’s law enforcement, federal actions taken thus far – including the President’s Executive Order signed this week – only scratch the surface of the critical reforms that our communities are desperately calling for,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities. “NLC is committed to helping local leaders implement policies, practices and procedures that promote racial equity in our justice system and improve our nation’s municipal policing to serve and protect everyone in our communities equally.”


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.