How Police-Reform Consent Decrees Have Evolved From Pittsburgh To Cleveland


The agreement entered into by the Cleveland Police Department in which the department has promised to enact widespread systemic reforms, especially around the use of force, is one of the most stringent Justice Department settlements yet, says the Christian Science Monitor. Federal investigations and consent decrees like the one in Cleveland have become increasingly common, and they may be one of the best chances troubled police departments have for taking on the daunting task of reform, addressing police misconduct, and improving relations with a distrustful community. “They are an effective and almost necessary remedy for troubled police departments, and I define troubled police departments as those that are incapable of reforming themselves,” says Sam Walker of the University of Nebraska. In some departments, the necessary changes won't take place in any meaningful way without outside intervention and oversight, he says. “It's a jolt from the outside.”

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