During a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, this month, President Joe Biden called for use of a tool long touted by police reform advocates: access to police disciplinary records. “We have to have rules where you can be able to determine what the background (is), how many times a cop has violated the rules, and be able to have access to what's going on in police departments so the Justice Department can get involved in whether or not they have to change their pattern and practices,” Biden said.
The fight for access to police personnel records has picked up urgency recently, as calls for police accountability have renewed in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, as well as other high-profile killings of Black Americans by police. Derek Chauvin, the police officer convicted of murdering Floyd, had 18 complaints filed against him during his 19 years with Minneapolis police. Chauvin used force or was involved in an incident in which force was used during eight instances.
Each police officer has a different work environment and complaints may be higher because of the unrulier actions of the inhabitants, not the disposition of the officer. Biden shows his lack of familiarity of police work and actions. A record of many complaints does not prove the police officer is bad.