South Carolina lawmakers unveil “Law Enforcement Accountability, Duty and Standards Act”

State News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Since the death of George Floyd, law enforcement departments across the country have been reevaluating its practices and policies. Lawmakers have also joined in on the conversation, hoping to shape policies to prevent a situation like the death of Floyd, including here in South Carolina.

Monday afternoon, South Carolina Senate Republicans vowed to make changes to law enforcment agencies across the state​.

“I think we were all disturbed and quite frankly angry about the killing of George Floyd just a few weeks ago and since then we’ve been listening,” explained Senator Shane Massey. ​

The group unveiled the SC LEADS Act or “Law Enforcement Accountability, Duty and Standards Act.”

The legislation would fully fund body cameras, create a central agency to investigate officer involved shootings, and require more training and diversity for law enforcement officers.

Senator Greg Hembree added, “The Law Enforcement Training Council would create a baseline standard on a host of things, the most important being the use of force, prohibiting chokeholds and neck restraints as a method of subduing a suspect.” ​

The proposal comes just weeks after the death of George Floyd. Senators behind the legislation say South Carolina needs to get in front of the issue.

Senator Sean Bennett continued, “The frustration is there. The anger is there. And a lot of them can’t articulate a specific policy change, but what’s very clear is the consistency that we need to be transparent, we need to repair the trust of our law enforcement system and we need to get the bad apples out of the bunch.” ​

Lawmakers will not be able to take any action on this bill this year​ because of the sine die resolution passed. However, they’re hoping to start the process to have the bill cued up for the 2021 legislative session.​

There are more than 300 law enforcement agencies in the state​. Half of them have 10 or fewer officers on staff​. Only 60 agencies are nationally and internationally accredited. ​

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