The USC Safe Communities Institute has announced a pilot program billed as the first comprehensive national registry of police officers who have been terminated or resigned due to misconduct.
The LEWIS – Law Enforcement Work Inquiry System – Registry, named after the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, is designed as a record of officer misconduct, according to USC and can be used by both the public and police departments.
The registry documents a variety of misdeeds, including excessive use of force, corruption, domestic violence, sexual assault, physical assault, harassment, perjury, hate group affiliation or falsifying a police report.
All information in the registry is drawn from public sources, including official department statements, court records, police notices, news reports and other open sources.
“A national police misconduct registry of abusive, violent and corrupt police officers is necessary to ensure transparency,” said Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles. “This will hold officers accountable to the people they are supposed to serve and protect, as well as prevent bad officers from leaving one department and being hired in another.”
The registry – from a research institute in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy – is being piloted with the intention of launching an interactive beta version later this year.
The public portal will be open to all so that the community can search to see if an officer has been previously fired or resigned due to misconduct, the university said.
The police department portal is intended for use by departments to screen applicants before hiring a police officer. In addition, the registry will be used for research into trends and patterns of misconduct, leading to new solutions for reforming and improving law enforcement practices.
“I am a proud supporter of the LEWIS Registry, a comprehensive national database providing immediate access to officer applicant screening to identify officers previously fired for misconduct,” said former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also serves as chairman of the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at USC Price.
“Communities must have the best-qualified individuals protecting and serving in these most vital positions of public trust.”
Price was a La Jolla businessman who made his fortune in warehouse stores – one venture, Price Club, merged with Costco – then turned to charitable endeavors, including Price Philanthropies in City Heights. He died in 2009.