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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Monday 10 August 2020

US sets up major law enforcement probe

US Attorney-General Bill Barr announced the creation this week of a Justice Department Commission that will study mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse and other issues that affect the ability of law enforcement to reduce crime in communities. According to a Fox News report, the effort – called the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice – follows an executive order from President Donald Trump in October that directed the Attorney-General to establish such a commission to look into issues affecting law enforcement. The Justice Department said it would explore ‘modern issues affecting law enforcement that most impact the ability of American policing to reduce crime’. The commission will study a variety of challenges facing law enforcement, including mental illness, homelessness and substance abuse. Police recruitment, hiring, training and retention of officers will also be key subjects for the commission. Department of Justice officials say this is the first commission of its kind since then-President Lyndon B Johnson launched a similar effort in 1967. ‘Together, we will examine, discuss and debate how justice is administered in the US and uncover opportunities for progress, improvement and innovation,’ Barr said. The Attorney-General also said the commission would look at ways to promote respect for law enforcement officials and more trust between the public and the officials policing them. ‘It’s particularly alarming that, last year, more officers died by suicide than any year previously recorded,’ he said.