DOJ Spending $1 Million On Post-Ferguson Policing Reports


The U.S. Department of Justice expects to spend more than $1 million to produce two reports related to law enforcement in Ferguson and St. Louis County, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. it will cost about $780,000 for the Police Foundation to produce a report on “collaborative reform” for the St. Louis County Police Department. The project was launched after last summer's shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. An “after-action” report on how police responded to demonstrations, looting and violence in the 17 days after the shooting will cost federal taxpayers $225,000, said an estimate from the author, Florida-based Institute for Intergovernmental Research Inc. Both reports could be released to the public as early as next month. The Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services contracted with both organizations. The Post-Dispatch has reported that a draft of the Ferguson after-action report faulted police for lack of coordination and for their responses to peaceful protests and riots that sometimes violated free-speech rights, antagonized crowds with military-style tactics and shielded officers from accountability.

St. Louis County's collaborative reform process is intended to be less costly and more efficient than the kind of consent decree being imposed on Ferguson, according to a report published by the Police Executive Research Forum in 2013. Former St. Louis County police chief Tim Fitch has questioned how any report that the Justice Department pays for is going to be objective. “They're being paid to say whatever the DOJ wants them to say,” he said. Fitch noted that the St. Louis County Police Department is one of only about two dozen police departments in the nation to hold the highest accreditation, which involves a review of its policies every three years by outside experts. “It certainly is stunning that the DOJ would spend that amount of money to conduct a review of a police agency that already has the highest level of accreditation of any agency in the country,” he said.

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