Karen Hopkins ’16, Kendrick Holley ’18 and Tom Devine ’80 co-authored a report, released by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), calling for police reform efforts to include productive dialogue about whistleblowing in the law enforcement community.
Hopkins led the development of “Breaking the Blue Wall of Silence: The Vital Role of Whistleblower Protections for Law Enforcement Officers,” including writing the first draft, and Devine, Holley and other members of GAP continued the project over two years. The report outlines policy recommendations aimed at breaking down practices that discourage law enforcement professionals from reporting abuse, including anti-retaliation rights for whistleblowers, protections against civil and criminal liability, legal standards for enforcement and independent investigations of reports.
Devine – who in addition to his role as Legal Director of GAP also directs the UDC Law Whistleblower Protection Clinic – spoke with “On the Media” host Matt Katz about GAP’s work on Capitol Hill to increase protections for whistleblowers. He described the intense retaliation faced by police officers who report abuses, emphasizing the importance of dismantling such practices through efforts like legislation introduced recently in Congress by Representative Gerald Connelly, the Special Inspector General for Law Enforcement Act.
Devine said, “We were all frustrated that Congress failed to achieve agreement on greater controls against police abuses, but we can save many lives just by enforcing the laws already on the books. After all, murder always has been illegal. A legal safe channel for whistleblowers to bear witness is the key for justice. Thanks to Karen Hopkins, every House and Senate office is learning the truth about law enforcement whistleblowers who are treated like they ‘committed the truth.’”