This week the IACP convened a summit on wrongful convictions—a topic that has been a priority for IACP President Walter A. McNeil this year. President McNeil called for the summit to continue the IACP’s goal of focusing on issues important and relevant to the law enforcement community. At the summit, subject matter experts from many areas of the justice system came together to discuss this issue and provide insight into preventing wrongful arrests and convictions.
At this start of the summit, President McNeil said, “the only person who benefits from a wrongful conviction is the true perpetrator—who remains free to commit new crimes and create new victims. Leadership is the essential element to addressing this problem more effectively and that leadership must certainly include America’s law enforcement community.”
President McNeil said there is no real debate on the issue either – the arrest, prosecution, conviction and incarceration of a person who DID NOT commit the crime they are charged with goes against every belief we hold dear. The need to address this issue in a systemic way could not be more urgent— “over the past many years we have clearly documented the pain, suffering, and damage that a wrongful conviction brings to crime victims, their families, police officials, prosecutors, juries, judges, and communities.” President McNeil challenged summit participants to come up with a much needed national strategy to reduce the likelihood of this type of injustice from occurring.
McNeil concluded his remarks by saying, “Bringing to bear the voices of America’s law enforcement leaders, and in turn the actions of the almost 800,000 officers under their command, can have a profound impact on wrongful arrest, prosecution, conviction and incarceration.”
Recommendations from the summit will be gathered and put into a report that will be released in the coming months. For more information on IACP’s work on wrongful convictions, please contact John Firman, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Wagers, email@example.com.