Press Release

May 20, 2021
Cardin Bill Calls for National Standards to Address Police Misconduct

Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act is a key piece of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Legislation addresses police misconduct through the development of uniform national standards, standardized data collection and funding for the implementation of federal consent decrees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today introduced S.1700, the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2021. Also introduced in previous congressional sessions, this legislation would address the problem of police misconduct through the development of uniform national standards, standardized data collection, and funding for the implementation of federal consent decrees. It is a key provision of the broader George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House of Representatives passed for the second time on March 3, 2021.

“Congress has a responsibility to address the serious ongoing problem of police misconduct, which we know disproportionately affects Black Americans. The lack of uniform, nationwide standards for law enforcement – especially with regard to the use of force – and lack of standardized national data on police practices are major barriers. While respecting state and local authority, the federal government should play a role in developing effective standards in collaboration with community stakeholders. Federal agency partners also should facilitate the collection and review of data on those practices most prone to misconduct, and incentivize local departments to adopt national standards,” said Senator Cardin. “As Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Justice Department renews federal investigations into pattern-and-practice violations of Constitutional rights by state and local police departments like the one in Baltimore City, Congress should be ready with appropriate resources to support our communities.” 

S. 1700, the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2021 would reduce policing misconduct by:   

  • Requiring the Attorney General to work with stakeholders to analyze existing law enforcement accreditation standards; recommend areas for the adoption of new standards to improve accountability and move toward a guardian mentality, including standards with regard to use of force policies, stop and search procedures, and other areas prone to misconduct; and to work with stakeholders and make grants available to encourage the uniform adoption of such standards by local police departments.  
  • Authorizing grants to state and local governments, public and private entities, and consortia to study law enforcement agency management and operations or develop pilot programs to implement best practices.
  • Requiring the Attorney General to study the prevalence and impact of any law, rule, or procedure that allows a law enforcement officer to delay for an unreasonable or arbitrary period of time answering questions posed by a local internal affairs officer, prosecutor, or review board.
  • Authorizing $25 million for the enforcement of civil rights statutes regarding police misconduct, including compliance with consent decree or judgments.
  • Requiring the Department of Justice to establish a task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
  • Creating standardized requirements for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to report data on certain activities including use of deadly force to the Attorney General.
  • Establishing a new process for recognizing law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

For additional information on the legislation, see here for a one-page summary and section-by-section.