The federal Justice Department will choose a monitor to oversee the Detroit Police Department’s policies on arrests, handling prisoners, and officer training and discipline. officers. The Detroit Free Press says the appointment of the monitor results from a civil rights probe of the police launched in December 2000 at the request of then-Mayor Dennis Archer. The Justice Department has been investigating allegations of excessive use of force, fatal shootings and mistreatment of prisoners.
For the past two days, Police Chief Jerry Oliver has been meeting with Justice Department officials and a final decision on the investigation is expected in the next few weeks. The Justice Department could to seek a court order for changes that could cost the city and reduce local control. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
announced last November that the city would form a partnership with the Justice Department to clean up the police department and avoid a court-ordered overhaul. Kilpatrick and Oliver said the city would work with federal officials to make changes in areas such as use of force, prisoner care, arrest policies, discipline and training.
The mayor had released three letters from the Justice Department to the city outlining what the Free Press called “a bleak picture of the department, casting it as an organization that fails to properly train, equip and discipline officers.” The letters, all dated in 2002, cite more than 150 problems.