‘Officers May Seek to Act With Impunity’

July 23, 2020 12:28 p.m.

TPM Reader JV reminds us of this 2014 letter from the Department of Justice to the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department which touches on the issue of officer identification.

Officers wearing name plates while in uniform is a basic component of transparency and accountability. It is a near-universal requirement of sound policing practices and required under some state laws. Allowing officers to remain anonymous when they interact with the public contributes to mistrust and undermines accountability. The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity. Further, the lack ofname plates makes it difficult or impossible for members of the public to identify officers if they engage in.misconduct, or for police departments to hold them accountable.

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