After the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, advocates for police reform called to defund the police, ban chokeholds and more effectively punish officers who abuse their power or show racial bias. Before any of those proposed reforms can actually go into effect, lawmakers and department chiefs would first have to get past police unions.
Over the course of decades, police unions have fought to secure generous benefits for rank-and-file officers and helped make the dangerous job of police work more attractive to hundreds of thousands of officers. But when their members come under scrutiny for police brutality and heavy-handed tactics, it’s the union that often serves as their first line of defense.
The New York Police Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
Watch the video above to learn about how police unions work in an age of increasing calls for law enforcement reform.