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tv   Washington Journal Val Demings  CSPAN  January 31, 2023 4:20pm-4:46pm EST

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it's good to be back with you. this is work through the national police institute that has gone on for two years. we initially thought it would be about three months but we realized that there was so much that we needed to look at and it was research-based which is a good thing and involves law enforcement but also social service representatives and i believe over the last two years, we did some good work. we have some problems. i spent 27 years in law enforcement. i work with some of the bravest, most courageous most compassionate men and women but we have had some foul ups and over the last two or three years since the death of george floyd, the focus has been on police reform. we've been around for about 50 years in the mission has always
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been to look at policing and race. the group came together and we looked at policies and procedures and standards. we looked at community-based programs that can certainly help reduce crime and we looked at the safety in a more holistic way and public safety is not just the responsibility of the police, but it takes a community to be involved and keep us all safe. and to build stronger communities. i know that's what we all want. host: congresswoman val demings is joining us on the same day that on the op-ed pages the washington post, you can hear her column where police leaders must reform themselves and she will talk about that this morning with us for about the next 35 minutes or so and the phone lines to call in --
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we have all seen the tyre nichols videos with several different videos of what's been released so far. what stands out to you and what's your reaction? guest: as a 27 year law enforcement officer and chief of police, someone who worked as a social worker before becoming a police officer, i saw the video and it was shocking and appalling. i think that every good person, every decent person, every good and decent police officer and police executive should see the video as shocking and appalling i've had an opportunity to review footage and go back and
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look at what happened and what was the purpose for the stop and what occurred and what to the person who wished up do to dictate the police. that's what we always did as police. it's the response of police and i have looked and i know the investigation is ongoing but the videos pretty clear and we should not ask anyone to not police. the video was pretty clear that this was a night that went off the rails. i have not been able -- i know the police chief is to looking and reviewing and still trying to find the justification for the stop in the first place. i have not been able to see any justification for the stop. this is a tough subject but we got to get this right. what happened to tyre nichols
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and his family and his community, every decent person, we got to come together and put processes and programs in place and legislation that can prevent things like this from happening again. host: the headline we are seeing today is the seventh officer linked to the tyre nichols investigation is relieved of duty and as you talked about, the specialized unit are receiving a lot of attention in the wake of these videos being released. why do we have the specialized policing units, what's their purpose and should departments have these kind of units? guest: i had specialized units in the orlando police department. when i was appointed chief we had an all-time high in the murder rate in orlando. the citizens of orlando wanted
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the police to do something about it we had specialized units as well. their purpose was to target the worst of the worst, the gang members, the drug dealers, those who committed gun violence in the worse of the worst and we have a list and we knew who they were. the specialized units target the worst of the worst behavior. it's something that discipline is appreciated because they wanted crime reduced especially violent crimes in their communities. i remember getting calls from our seniors and retirees who lived in certain neighborhoods and said they were tired of going to church and having to go through the drug dealers to get to church. they were tired of seeing their grandchildren walked to the bus stop and being accosted by drug dealers so everyone, regardless of who they are, everyone deserves to live in safe and
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secure communities. i had a specialized unit that i had to disband. the departments have a certain mission and certain policies and procedures but we have also seen that within some specialized units, while the department culture is one of safety and service, those specialized units can develop their own toxic culture. i certainly had to disband one of our units. specialized units are for a purpose but for the right reasons. we have to have the most highly trained, highly seasoned officers within those units. you have to be sure you're giving proper supervision. one thing that is important is its high risk and high stress and you have to rotate the men and women within those specialized units on a regular
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basis. host: memphis was the so-called scorpion unit. they were created in late 2021 and shut down saturday, day after the police chief there defended it. on calls for reform, a lot of focus on the george floyd justice and policing act that passed the house last congress and did not pass the senate. what does that do in if that had been passed, is there anything in that that would have prevented what happened here? guest: i was disappointed that the george floyd justice in policing act stalled in the u.s. senate. it's not perfect legislation. we all know that. i certainly didn't think it was perfect. there were some areas that i
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didn't necessarily agree with. but we needed to do something. legislation seldom protects anyone and with developing national standards, that will help give police departments the tools they need. we have over 18,000 law enforcement agencies in our country. god bless the men and women who do the job right every day. it is a tough job. we have police department's that are 36000 and as few as 10 or less than that. i believe developments of national standards in terms of hiring and training, in terms of the proper use of what meant especially those coming from the federal government are good things. modifying policies -- hiring the brightest and the best. we know we have to have men and women who have the temperament for the job. giving police departments
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initial funding or whatever it takes to expand their scope to have -- to hire people that have the right temperament. giving our men and women the training, we know they have different training budgets. the george floyd policing act would have provided a standard minimize -- minimum training and it would've given them the tools to protect themselves but to better be able to protect members of the community. policies like chokeholds and no-knock warrants, we had a policy that said you cannot strike a person above the shoulders unless you were justified in using deadly force. that's because a strike above
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the shoulders can cause death or great bodily harm. in memphis, we saw in the video with their own eyes where officers kicked tyre nichols in the head, they punched him in the face, they beat him with the baton and they sprayed him and tased him. modifying those policies and having a national database were one police number dish police officer was fired from one agency, maybe even in another state that they could not with just cause simply cross state lines or go on the other side of town and apply and get hired at another agency. and then increasing accountability. good police officers are not afraid of that. increase accountability. it's a good thing. bad officers know that they are going to be held accountable and
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pay the consequences for bad behavior, our hope is that that is this will improve performance and interaction. the george floyd justice in policing act was not perfect that it was a step in the right direction that's why we saw it pass in the house but there is not much of an appetite unfortunately in congress. there is not much of an appetite to protect members of congress who have been threatened. that's what i believe is important for my brothers and sisters in the police to step up and take matters into their own hands. after george floyd, i got on the phone and called several police executives and said you don't want the federal government telling you what to do him a look internally and take action to modify your own policies, many of them did that. many did not and look where we are today. we've got to do something, this
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cannot continue to happen. host: our guest is former congresswoman val demings involved in police reform. you can check out police we have many calls from you and we will start in illinois, christina, line for democrats. caller: good morning. i have a quick question -- do they ever test these officers? i am blind but i heard what was going on and to me it sounded like a pack of wild cackles. maybe testosterone and the rates from steroids -- and the rage from steroids might be a problem, what do you think of that? guest: thank you for your question. whenever a person of authority
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uses authority in a horrific way and certainly when it results in the death of any individual, i would call any of them a while? . i also -- a wilds? . -- a wild jackal. we have to make sure we are hiring the right people to do the job. there are a lot of applications to go through to get 20 get them best people in the ranks. i also believe the recruitment process and hiring process should involve psychological evaluation. we cannot just stop there. i remember one of the first bills i supported in congress was the law and worsen on this act that made sure -- it's a tough job and officers go through a lot so let's make sure
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we are doing regular checkups on our officers to make sure we are taking care of their mental issues, their physical issues and their spiritual issues if that be the case. start with hiring and make sure we hire the right desk the brightest and the best. let's also make sure we are doing wellness checks along the way on our officers to make sure they have everything they need to survive but also protect the innocent. host: from your home state of florida, this is nick, line for republicans, good morning. caller: good morning, this word salad we are listening to will do nothing to solve any of this and it has never done anything to solve any of this. the police reform is only half of it. we need people reform. what i mean by that is we need to stop this disrespect we have in this country for law
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enforcement. people would be so much that are off and i do this in my personal life i've been pulled over by police and when i get pulled over come i put my hazard lights on, i put down every single window in the car before the approach the car come i put my hands on the steering wheel and i say yes sir, no sir and answer their questions. we need to have respect and it has to start in the home which val demings does not want to talk about. it has to start in the schools which val demings does not want to talk about. people need to be taught in driver education classes instead of talking about transgender bathrooms and all the other idiocy that people like val demings want to talk about -- host: i will let you respond. caller: good morning. let me just say that i grew up in florida in jackson with two
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parents in the home and they talked me to be respectful our parents teach their children to be respectful but we -- i heard you dish your earlier segment where you were talking about the general lack of morality and respect. it's not just on the street with police officers. it would be good to get back to respecting each other in our different places and different political parties. the lack of respect which may mean something to different people but nobody deserves to be beaten to death by a police officer. i did the job and doggone it, i know the job. i love the men and women who do
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the job we send a message that everybody counts. but everybody is accountable. i'm sure you view the same idiom i did. lord knows, i cannot find anything tyre nichols said or did that showed a level of disrespect to the officers. as a matter of fact, officers are trained -- the escalation is important -- we want to be a national standard so all police departments teach their officers how to de-escalate situations. the only person on the scene listened and watched. the only person on the scene in memphis that night trying to de-escalate the situation was tyre nichols. thank you, nick. host: new york is next, denise,
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independent, good morning. caller: good morning, i want to start by saying i run an emergency department and i have an uncle that is a new york state trooper. about 15 years ago, i felt the police did not deserve my support. i was in a snowstorm heading to work at 10:30 p.m. and went through a red light that i didn't see until i was on upon it and then i slid through it. a police officer in amherst stopped and yelled at me that i should be off the road. without even giving me the respect on why you are on the road. there was no respect. another time i had an officer come to a car accident and yell because we had no right calling
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for a car accident. i didn't like officers and then i worked in an emergency department and i see the fine work that most of them do even there, i had an officer blow up about waiting too long with the behavioral health patient so he hasn't unstable patient and he's yelling at a busy -- in a busy waiting room. i never had that experience with a state trooper. my point is that we need to see what the state troopers are doing and what they used to recruit people and how they train people because they are always respectful, it's like a different level and it should be. the other thing -- it shouldn't be. host: let's have val demings jump on that aspect. guest: we have a whole policy on
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being respectful, not just to each other but certainly to the citizens that we serve. having an entire regulation demonstrates that. [indiscernible] all of the good men and women who put on any uniform who do the job -- when we talk about policing and public safety and this is one of the things that the council looked at, we have to reevaluate safety to not just include police. everybody counts but everybody is accountable which means we all have a responsibility to police our communities but that's a whole another aspect, it's what we call in the report, valid crime prevention. it basically says --
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commissioner david brown was now the commissioner in chicago but was the police chief in dallas when he made this statement, he said every time society fails, we call the police to solve it. not enough mental health funding, given to the police, not enough drug treatment addiction, let the police handle it. in florida, we say the rns county jail is the biggest mental health facility and the biggest drug treatment facility in the region. school fails, the commissioner says give it to the police that they will handle it. cheap brown ended with we are asking our cops to do too much. while we are making sure our officers, we have the right ones and getting the best training in the best equipment to make sure they are trained to utilize that a meant and holding them accountable, there are consequences for bad action --
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actions, we have to deal with the social ills that cause the problems in communities in the first place. president johnson also said policeman, he said we have to have the best and make sure they have the best training. they looked at this issue. give them the best training and have the best, that's equipment. but then they said we've got to deal with poverty, we got to do with unemployment and low wages. we got to do with substandard education. we've got to deal with homelessness if we are going to build those strong communities we need. that's just what we are doing today. public safety, the police of the frontline of public safety but then it takes the community in a takes that village to get to where we need to be.
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we've got to address some of the social ills. host: just about 10 minutes left with congresswoman val demings about police reform. and race. you can find it at council on policing, their recommendations for these issues. taking your phone calls on lines for democrats, republicans and democrats, this is janine and vancouver, washington, democrat. caller: good morning. i just love you. i've watched you in congress and i've seen what you done. in my community, our sheriff's department has really changed for the better because they reach out to our teenagers. they reach out in a good way and it de-escalate's the situation where officers are pulling
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