Thursday, February 13, 2014 | 3 comments

SB185: Law Enforcement Transparency


To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker.
Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or
click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Below is the introduction of our newly released policy analysis, “Law Enforcement Transparency.” To read the entire report, click here. The resulting legislation is Senate Bill 185.

Governor Herbert has stated, “Taxpayers and citizens have a right to know where every tax dollar goes and how it is spent, and state government has a responsibility to be accountable and open to constituents.” He continued: “On balance, we have made great strides toward more openness and transparency in government. That’s evident by enhanced web reporting and the installation of a government records ombudsman. But we will not back off our commitment to do better.”

We believe that the government can do better.

Serving as the people’s representatives, Utah lawmakers can only respond to any problems that may exist to the extent that they understand these problems. This understanding requires information—how the process currently works, how it’s being abused, how it’s falling short, etc. If this information is not available, then legislators cannot realize and respond to problematic areas in public policy.

This bill proposal does not seek to restrain officers in their work. Instead, we believe it is necessary to better inform lawmakers, and the public at large, regarding how police officers are using their authority to enforce the law. We agree with Governor Herbert that the government, including law enforcement, must “be accountable and open.” This bill proposal facilitates that objective.

We sincerely hope that such transparency will reveal no problems. Of course, whether problems exist or not is a secondary concern—transparency in the enforcement of the law is a needed step to help ensure the public can have an informed trust of the police.




Trackbacks

  1. […] new bill in Utah that would require the state’s police agencies to report statistics about how and how often they use their SWAT and […]

  2. […] same thirst for transparency led the Utah legislature to pass our proposed legislation earlier this year, bringing some sunlight to the use of extreme force by officers. Beginning this […]

  3. […] It’s at least worthy of further interrogation, and calls for it are no more Communist than the Libertas Institute’s call for greater transparency in how often Utah police use […]

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