Holder endorses commission to update police training, tactics

Eric Holder will speak to police officers on Wednesday about Justice Department plans to review police tactics.

Story highlights

  • Goal is to produce recommendations to help police deal with new threats
  • Panel would also boost use of technology such as police car and body cameras
  • Holder to announce support for the commission in Wednesday speech
  • Critics will likely also want new standards for police use of force
Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department plans to expand a review of police tactics to update training, technology and other standards around the nation.
The aim, in part, is to produce broad national recommendations to enhance officers' safety, help them deal with new threats and also boost the use of technology such as police car and body cameras.
In the wake of complaints about police handling of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, critics likely will also push for new standards to address police crowd control tactics and the use of force. The protests followed the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer in August.
Associations representing police officers and executives have supported the idea of a commission to review standards.
Holder, who speaks to a gathering of police officers in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Wednesday, plans to announce his support for such a commission to do the most expansive review of police tactics in 50 years.
Holder, in prepared remarks, said the goal of the ongoing review is to "swiftly confront emerging threats, better address persistent challenges, and thoroughly examine the latest tools and technologies to enhance the safety, and the effectiveness, of law enforcement."
An ongoing review is already doing some of the work. But Holder says expanding it would "consider the profession in a comprehensive way and to provide strong, national direction on a scale not seen since President Lyndon Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement nearly half a century ago."
Excerpts of his speech were provided by the Justice Department before delivery.
Holder's speech is also intended to mark the 20th anniversary of a landmark crime law that created the federal COPS grants program, which funds community policing in cities around the country.