Rhode Island police chiefs sign statewide policy reform campaign

The 20-step campaign is a list of promises and policy amendments set by the collective body of police chiefs

By Suzie Ziegler

PROVIDENCE — In the wake of George Floyd's death and nationwide protests, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association has approved a multi-step reform campaign expected to bring policy changes to departments statewide.

The Twenty for 2020 Campaign was signed by the state's 48 police chiefs in "an effort to ensure the public's faith in its police departments," the Association said in a release Thursday.

Rhode Island State House in Providence, Rhode Island.
Rhode Island State House in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo/David Wilson)

According to the release, the changes will focus on commitments to open book policies and procedures, better communication with the public, and more training on diversity, implicit bias and procedural justice.

"Every police chief in Rhode Island rightly denounces the actions of police officers whose actions and inaction have led to the murder of George Floyd and many other men and women," said Chief Sidney Wordell (Ret.) Executive Director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association in a prepared statement. "The Twenty for 2020 campaign is a list of 20 promises and policy changes that are being enacted statewide. This is a unified effort. We recognize that we cannot create systemic change in our state by doing it piecemeal."

The campaign is led by three statements of principle: 

  • An acknowledgment about the realities of police brutality in the world;
  • Defending the profession of policing in Rhode Island;
  • Re-emphasizing training standards.

The remaining policy changes and promises focus on training, communication, commitments to diversity training and diversity hiring, and helping to implement new department policies including body-worn camera and officer wellness programs.

Click here for complete descriptions of each point in the Twenty for 2020 Campaign.

The campaign's messaging will be distributed by all law enforcement agencies in Rhode Island, the release said.

“Today, the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association has taken the initial steps toward reforming and implementing essential policies that are conducive to fair and impartial policing practices throughout the State of Rhode Island," said John P. A'Vant, president of the Rhode Island Guardians Association. "These much-needed reformative action-steps will assist in facilitating community trust and strengthen the historically broken bond between law enforcement and marginalized communities.”

Infographic/Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association


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