Governor Kay Ivey at the Alabama State Parks Foundation Capital Campaign Kick-off on April 14, 2021, at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)
Alabama will create a state database to track disciplinary actions or excessive force complaints against officers in an attempt to weed out bad actors.
According to the AP, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed House Bill 411 into law, which aims to hold officers accountable and lend greater transparency to their records.
The database will specifically track officers’ employment histories, looking for disciplinary actions they may have received in the past, complaints against them for excessive force or other misconduct, and reassignments for cause.
The information in the database will be confidential, and reviewable only by law enforcement agencies prior to hiring an officer.
The law comes in the wake of the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, amidst calls for greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement.
In June 2020, Former President Donald Trump also signed an executive order to encourage better policing practices and to create a similar database to track officers’ records.
Sponsor of the bill and former police officer Rep. A.J. McCampbell hopes the bill will prevent bad actor from transferring from one city to the next.
“We have great officers. But it’s just like any other profession, you have great actors and you have bad actors. This is an opportunity to weed out the bad actors,” he said.
The bill was approved unanimously in the Senate with a 26-0 vote and in the House at 95-4.
Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, also hopes the bill will “weed out the bad applies.” During a news conference of the Alabama House Democratic Caucus, he said about the bill: “It would make it more difficult for someone who has got a checkered past to hop from law enforcement agency to law enforcement agency. It builds a database so we can sort of weed out the bad apples that everyone continues to talk about.”
Meanwhile, the Alabama legislature is trying to push through further police reforms, but they are facing more resistance from the GOP who hold the majority.
Bills that establish procedures for the release of body camera and dash cam footage has not yet received a committee hearing, while a bill that requires police to gather racial data during traffic stops has passed the Senate but awaits a vote in the House.
The law requires the database to be in use by Oct. 1, 2023.