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"Accountability refers to the mechanisms by which both law enforcement officers and the agencies they serve are held responsible for promoting social order, reducing crime, and treating each individual fairly and within the limits of the law. Accountability lies at the heart of citizen concerns regarding police discretion, use of force, and the internal hiring practices of those in law enforcement. It both defines and protects citizens’ rights while also promoting a collective sense of faith in the larger criminal justice system. In short, accountability serves as the public’s first line of defense against acts of misconduct that can, and often do, violate the rights of those whom law enforcement agents have sworn to serve and protect."


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  • use of force, lethal force, excessive force
  • police brutality
    • chokeholds, strangleholds
  • police misconduct
  • civil liberties, civil rights
  • militarization of police
  • qualified immunity
  • racial profiling
  • confidence in police, attitudes towards police

Proposed Corrections:

  • body cameras
  • police reform
  • Defund the Police movement
  • citizen oversight
  • hiring practices
  • community policing
  • crisis intervention teams
  • de-escalation training

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About This Page

This page was originally developed by Elaine Patton and John Powell.

Other Contributors:

First published: April 2024

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