This Article examines the untapped potential of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commissions to protect communities that experience police misconduct and discrimination. POST commissions, which are created by state laws and exist in all fifty states, have broad authority to regulate police officers and police departments. POST commissions determine eligibility and qualifications for police employment and regulate the content of training officers receive. Most POST commissions can also revoke certification of officers who commit serious misconduct or fail to meet continuing eligibility requirements set by the commissions. In some states, they can also impose statewide, compulsory reforms to policing policy. POST commissions have yet to fulfill their potential to protect the public from harmful police behaviors because (1) they lack clear legislative or organizational mandates to protect the public against unethical or unjust policing and (2) their membership tends to be dominated by law enforcement officials with little or no input from the communities that are most burdened by aggressive and discriminatory policing. If legislatures address these structural problems, POST commissions could regulate policing to protect communities from police abuse and misconduct.
Hilary Rau, Kim S. Buchanan, Monique L. Dixon & Phillip A. Goff,
State Regulation of Policing: POST Commissions and Police Accountability,
U.C. Irvine L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.uci.edu/ucilr/vol11/iss5/7