Senate Democrats

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., speaks during a news conference following the Senate policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., wants to see more federal oversight and more uniform national standards for local police departments.

Cardin introduced federal legislation on Thursday that includes a $25 million push to investigate alleged police civil rights violations.

Cardin’s measure also calls for increased U.S. Department of Justice oversight and investigations into local police activities as well as more standardized data reporting and accreditation requirements for local law enforcement.

The efforts are part of a number of federal and state proposals from Democrats and progressives aimed at policing and criminal justice reforms after the social unrest in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. However, some local police officials across the country worry about one-size-fits-all standards and regulations being imposed by the federal government.

“Congress has a responsibility to address the serious ongoing problem of police misconduct, which we know disproportionately affects Black Americans. The lack of uniform, nationwide standards for law enforcement – especially with regard to the use of force – and lack of standardized national data on police practices are major barriers. While respecting state and local authority, the federal government should play a role in developing effective standards in collaboration with community stakeholders. Federal agency partners also should facilitate the collection and review of data on those practices most prone to misconduct, and incentivize local departments to adopt national standards,” Cardin said in a statement.

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