Sean Smoot ('95) discusses his work on the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
April 28, 2015
Smoot is the Director and Chief Legal Counsel for the Police Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois and the Police Benevolent Labor Committee.
He also serves as the elected treasurer of the National Association of Police Organizations and is a member of the Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
"Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy. It is key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.
In light of the recent events that have exposed rifts in the relationships between local police and the communities they protect and serve, on December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. I was honored to be appointed by the President and to serve as one of the eleven Task Force Members. The President charged the task force with identifying current best practices and offering recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.
The task force ... held listening sessions in Washington, D.C., Phoenix, AZ and Cincinnati, OH. These session brought the 11 members of the Task Force together with more than 120 individuals from diverse stakeholder groups– law enforcement officers and executives, community members, civic leaders, advocates, researchers, academics and others – to study the problems from all perspectives.
The resulting task force recommendations, each with action items, are organized around six main topic areas or “pillars”: Building Trust and Legitimacy; Policy and Oversight; Technology and Social Media; Community Policing and Crime Reduction; Officer Training and Education; Officer Safety and Wellness.
The task force also offered two overarching recommendations. First, that the President should support the creation of a National Crime and Justice Task Force to examine all areas of criminal justice and propose reforms. As a corollary to this effort, the task force also recommended that the President support programs that take a comprehensive and inclusive look at community based initiatives that address core issues such as poverty, education, health and safety."
Smoot is working with the SIU Law Journal to plan a symposium based on the recommendations made by the Task Force. He served as the Business Editor for the Law Journal while he was a law student at SIU.