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Police Reform

Andy Dorchak  /  Wednesday, December 19, 2018  /  Categories: Just in Case  /  Rate this article:
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According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Word document from 2015, Police Reform and Accountability Accomplishments," the DOJ was enforcing sixteen agreements with law enforcement agencies -- ten consent decrees and six out-of-court agreements. Since 2012, it had successfully completed consents decrees with the Los Angeles Police Department and the District of Columbia Police, as well  as a memorandum of understanding with the Orange County, FL Sheriff's office.

In 2015, there were nine active investigations -- mostly findings letters or offers of technical assistance. 

Since 2009, five complete investigations found no constitutional violations -- police in Austin, TX; Lorain, OH; Harvey, IL; Schenectady, NY, and the Sheriff's Office in Escambia County, FL.

On Sept. 15, 2017, the DOJ announced that it was significantly modifying the voluntary COPS program, after having completed a review of the program as request by Attorney General Session in a memorandum on March 31, 2017. In the memo, the DOJ committed to "use its resources to effectively promote a peaceful and lawful society,
where the civil rights of all persons are valued and protected."

There are two free databases that are great starting points for researching federal efforts to help or force police departments reform. First is the DOJ's own Special Litigation Section's website. Second is the Law School of the University of Michigan's Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. At either website, one can find in-depth information related to the various consent decrees and other actions that are part of the police reform effort through the United States. 

Selected Resources

Roger L. Goldman, Importance of State Law in Police Reform 60 St. Louis L. Rev. 363 (2016).

Stephen Rushin, Police Disciplinary Appeals, 167 U. Pa. L. Rev. (forthcoming).

Stephen Rushin and Griffin Sims Edwards, De-Policing, 102 Cornell L. Rev. 721 (2017).

Stephen Rushin, Federal Enforcement of Police Reform, 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014).

U.S. Department of Justice, The Civil Rights Division's Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present (Jan., 2017).

Robert E. Wordin, Mirage of Police Reform: Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy (U. Cal. Press, 2017).  JSTOR

Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Police (May, 2015).

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