Some Cities Pursue Police Reforms Before Feds Step In


Police departments not already under federal oversight to reduce deadly force by officers are pursuing reforms on their own in response to growing criticism that police use too much force too often, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Cleveland is the latest of nine U.S. cities to enter a consent decree with the civil rights division, a court-backed agreement to enact wide policy changes. Others include Seattle, New Orleans and Albuquerque, N.M. Many expect Ferguson, Mo., to join them.

The St. Louis Police Department is not among those under federal oversight, but Police Chief Sam Dotson said he is studying changes being made in cities under consent decrees and others such as Las Vegas, Baltimore and Philadelphia, which are working on reforms with another arm of the Justice Department, the office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. Dotson said he expects to introduce wider training for officers about recognizing “implicit bias” and helping make better decisions about when to shoot. He said he also has started discussions with state public safety officials about making that training available statewide.

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