Police ready for overhaul despite call for pause

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis speaks at a news conference in Baltimore to announce that seven Baltimore police officers who worked on a firearms crime task force are facing charge

Civil rights advocates fear Sessions is weighing what an Obama civil rights official called "an alarming retreat away from ensuring that police departments engage in constitutional policing".

MCEVERS: So explain how the federal government has authority over state and local police at all.

The requested hearing delay could interrupt the process of overhauling the policies of the Baltimore Police Department, which came to an agreement on a consent decree with outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch earlier this year. All of them are all still active.

The Justice Department filed a request to postpone a hearing on the proposed consent decree implementing sweeping reforms to Baltimore's troubled police department.

Sessions has always been a critic of the consent decree process, calling them "dangerous" in a 2008 report.

"There's no question that some of these consent decrees are arduous and complicated, but they will (force cities to) provide the kind of resources the department very often needs", said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, whose study of consent decrees found them costly but useful in helping departments deal with broad image and performance issues. "The consent decree is a blueprint for real police reform and is not incompatible to our ability to fight crime".

But there are things the DOJ can do to undermine it. It could ignore violations of decrees and stop taking police departments to court because of them.

The City Council is expected next month to vote on key legislation that aims to bring Seattle much closer into compliance with the police department's federal agreement. "After all, these injunctions are entered to protect the public interest", Smith said.


Newly minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo this week announcing his intention to reconsider all existing consent decrees.

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis arrives at a news conference at the department's headquarters in Baltimore, Tuesday, April 4, 2017, to respond to the Department of Justice's request for a 90-day delay o.

The Baltimore Police Department is continuing to move forward with reforms related to the forthcoming consent decree for the overall progress of the city of Baltimore.

President Donald Trump has taken an emphatic pro-police, "law-and-order" stand. But regardless of the federal government's participation, she said, the city and police will continue work to fix shattered trust between law enforcement and the community.

The DOJ's Civil Rights Division launches pattern and practice investigations into law enforcement agencies to identify and root out systemic problems. But Davis said some might be surprised by what the $500 million city Police Department doesn't have. "At that point it's not a matter of will".

"Consent decrees are the means by which you provide a hedge of protection, civil rights and civil liberties", Brooks said.

"We don't have computers in our police cars yet". After combing through crime data of America's 35 largest cities going back to 1985, the Journal noted that four of them - Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Memphis - had rates of violent crime last year that either approached or exceeded records set more than 25 years ago. The order signaled a major shift in the department's emphasis on brokering consent decrees to reform police departments, most notably in Baltimore, Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri. And Carrie, why does the Trump Justice Department say it is conducting this review? The attorney general previously opposed the agreements, which are considered a legacy of the Obama administration.

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