According to US News, Louisiana ranks 50th in crime and corrections. Contributing to this low ranking is high incarceration rates for adults, above-average incarceration rates for juveniles, and a high violent crime rate.
Gary believes that the creation and enforcement of federal standards applicable to all state and local law enforcement agencies are not only critical only for a safer America, but also for a citizenry that respects and trusts their law enforcement professionals.
Gary is committed to advocating for and passing legislation for the following priorities:
1. Create the Federal Community Public Safety Agency (CPSA). Gary supports the BREATHE ACT put forth by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives.
The BREATHE ACT calls for the creation of a Federal Community Public Safety Agency (CPSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services. Gary will advocate for and vote to pass legislation to create that department. This agency will examine and review state and local police forces that have abused their power and look for alternative means to reimagine the relationship between communities of color and their local police departments.
We must reimagine and create a new criminal “just” system.
2. Demilitarization of the Police
When analyzing the most notable mass protests in America, the optics, including the presence of militarized state and local law enforcement agencies, was due to a well-funded military-industrial complex during the Global War on Terror. The United States allotted billions of dollars towards the use of excess military weapons, vehicles, and hardware.
Unfortunately, this military equipment ended up on our city streets in the hands of local law enforcement, accounting for the DOD 1033 Excess Use Program that was responsible for the phenomenon of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) tanks, high powered rifles, and machine guns being used in botched raids and assaults on unsuspecting and innocent American civilians.
Military equipment does not belong in the hands of civilians, which includes civilian law enforcement. In order for our police to function at all as local law enforcement, they have to stop showing up in our communities looking like soldiers ready to conquer a foreign enemy. Gary would call for the end of the DoD 1033 Excess Use Program and supports a federal ban on the use of military weapons, equipment, and vehicles except for in hostage, terrorist, and mass casualty situations.
3. Smart Funding of Law Enforcement
There have been many calls for the defunding of the police. However, police officers are put into a myriad of situations where public safety and public health may be at risk. Therefore, Gary understands that defunding in the strictest definition of the term may not be the best solution and instead advocates for a “smart funding” of the police.
Smart funding is an innovative funding mechanism that uses a formula based upon objective quality-of-life factors. Citizens want the best law enforcement service their tax dollars can buy, however, when unarmed and innocent citizens are killed, tax dollars that could pay for better community services must then pay for lengthy and costly lawsuits against the city and its officers.
Gary would call for law enforcement agencies to demonstrate their use of training that implements standardized quality-of-life factors into policing in order for them to qualify for federal funding.
4. Refunding Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Programs
Louisiana currently has deficit-based juvenile justice programs. Instead of rehabilitating our children to become productive citizens after making a mistake, we are preparing our children for a life of institutionalization and incarceration. Gary would call for more funding for juvenile delinquency programs that provide holistic support to children in the juvenile justice system and their families.
5. Legalization of Marijuana
Lastly, we must fully legalize marijuana at the state and federal level. Gary will advocate for and vote to pass legislation that will allow for the tax revenues created from the sale of marijuana to fund reparations programs for Black Americans. Additionally, all individuals incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses should be released and their records expunged.
It is unjust to see people profit in the cannabis industry while regular, mostly Black, Americans are still incarcerated for doing the same thing. No race has been more negatively impacted by America’s “War on Drugs”, therefore it is merely restorative justice to ensure Black Americans see their tax dollars reinvested in their communities.