Vera Institute of Justice on Police Week

Vera Institute of Justice on Police Week

May 11, 2023
Contact: Michael Czaczkes,, 347-831-0347

Washington DC - In advance of Police Week (May 14 - 20), a memorial week for law enforcement during which Congress prepares to vote on legislation related to policing and public safety, Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, issued the following statement:

This police week is a rare chance to implement a comprehensive approach to public safety that is based on solutions, not scare tactics. Everyone deserves safety and the police play an important role in preserving it, but a majority of the public agrees that the status quo approach is not working to keep communities safe. The best way to build lasting public safety is to acknowledge that police are one tool within a collection of solutions needed to keep communities safe. Members of Congress can lead on this issue by emphasizing that we can support the police and hold them accountable, which is why I am calling on Congress to take the following actions:

  1. Support localities working to reform their approach to policing and public safety and vote against politically driven efforts like the resolution disapproving Washington, DC’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act, which would overturn the will of DC voters and nullify local progress on police accountability.
  2. Oppose the Invest to Protect Act, the COPS Reauthorization Act, and other bills that would expand policing and increase funding for local law enforcement agencies to recruit, hire, and retain officers, despite inconclusive evidence that more policing makes us safer, and without including accountability measures that help preserve community trust.
  3. Oppose bills that create new and harsher penalties for already-penalized conduct against police officers, like the Back the Blue Act, the POLICE Act, and the soon-to-be-introduced Protect and Serve Act. Governments should ensure the safety of law enforcement officers, but because the perceived harshness of a potential sentence is not a significant consideration for individuals who commit crimes, layering additional federal penalties on top of existing sentence enhancements for offenses against police won’t make officers safer.
  4. Support bills like the Break the Cycle of Violence Act and the Mental Health Justice Act, which invest in community violence interventions and other approaches to safety that prevent crime rather than just responding in its aftermath. These bills are set to be re-introduced soon.
  5. Oppose mandatory minimum sentencing and other outdated approaches to drug enforcement, like the HALT Fentanyl Act, that create harsher punishments but do nothing to deter drug use or activity. Instead, support evidence-based approaches to drug scheduling and sentencing like the TEST Act and the EQUAL Act.

Police Week is a crucial opportunity to step away from partisan rhetoric and fearmongering and instead set an honest, optimistic, and solutions-oriented approach to crime and safety. This is why the Vera Institute of Justice sent a letter to every member of Congress urging them to act by prioritizing these common-sense, evidence-based solutions that will strengthen our communities and deliver the safety everyone deserves.


About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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