The National Police Association is urging the DOJ to ‘reconsider treating police as if they, not criminals, are somehow the problem’
Law enforcement leaders are responding vigorously to new actions recently announced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding surveillance Police Department, saying they would “hamstring” officers and promoting an anti-police narrative.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ would take a number of new actions to oversee police departments across the country during a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Monday.
Garland said “more is needed” beyond federal “pattern-or-practice” investigations into police departments and the resulting consent orders, which is worrying for those in the law enforcement community.
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“Those investigations and the resulting settlements have led to significant improvements in police departments across the country. That, in turn, builds community trust, which is essential to making your tough jobs safer and more effective,” Garland said during the announcement. “It’s also no secret that surveillance involving some of those settlements has sparked frustration and concerns within the law enforcement community.”
Police advocates tell Granthshala News that federal pattern-or-practice investigations, which have resulted in years of court-binding consent decisions, can be “problematic” and often block the ability of law enforcement to do their job.
Jason Johnson, chairman of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former deputy commissioner for the Baltimore Police Department, called Garland’s move “encouraging” but said it did not satisfy every concern, including the issues faced by police under the Obama administration, whose Heavily used consent decree.
“This is an encouraging step. Certainly, it does not satisfy every concern with police consent, but it is an incremental step in the right direction,” Johnson said in a statement to Granthshala News.
Johnson continued, “under the Obama administration these consent decrees have expanded rapidly in scope and work better than anything else to add to the personal assets of monitors. They have no hope of achieving their stated goal.” should be much more narrow and practical.”
National Police Union spokesman Sgt. Betsy Brentner Smith told Granthshala News in a statement that one of the DOJ’s proposed actions, to cap the fees collected by the Consent Decree Monitor, is a “very positive step,” but referring to targeted police Agencies expressed concern over Garland’s “needs more” remarks.
“These police departments are often in high crime, for example in urban areas such as Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore, where officers are dealing with extraordinary violence, limited resources and unprecedented personnel shortages, especially the current ‘police defiance. in the atmosphere,” he said. Smith.
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Because law enforcement in the US is “highly decentralized” by design, Smith suggested that the DOJ “give additional ‘boots on the ground’ federal agents to federal prosecutors as well as federal prosecutors in those areas with additional ‘boots on the ground'”. can better serve the public by sending those who are ready to help STOP and stop violent criminals by prosecuting and imprisoning them.”
Smith said that the National Police Association believes in the continual improvement of police agencies, but that “controlling violent criminals is a more positive step than taking the legal actions of local law enforcement officers to advance the anti-police narrative.” could.”
“Treatment of police as if they, not criminals, is some sort of problem, is neither accurate nor realistic, and we encourage the DOJ to reconsider.”
In April, the Biden DOJ announced a return to the Obama administration’s heavy use decision after Trump’s DOJ, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, issued a memo in 2018 greatly downplaying their use.
The Biden administration has since opened a civilian pattern-or-practice investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, following his death. George Floyd.
Granthshala News’ Ron Blitzer contributed to this report.