The Detroit Police Department has put most of the needed new policies in place but has failed to implement 71 percent of the changes it must make to comply with federal court orders related to use of force and treatment of prisoners, says the department’s new federal monitor ina report quoted by the Detroit News. Robert Warshaw’s assessment was in some ways bleaker than the dismal reviews issued by his predecessor, Sheryl Robinson Wood, who had said that about 61 percent of the department’s work was still in front of it. Warshaw said he is using different methods and the numbers in his quarterly report cards should not be directly compared with hers.
Warshaw reported “grave concerns with an apparent failure to document a significant, but unknown, number of cases of use of force,” and unclean holding cells, in which used personal items were left after prisoners were released and bodily fluids were not quickly cleaned up. Significant progress has been made to patch up a non-working scout car video system, a crucial computerized system to track problem officers remains in limbo, he said. Overall, Warshaw wrote, “With the new leadership of the Detroit Police Department, we are hopeful that the stated commitments of the chief and his team will translate into an ethos that will permeate the ranks of the organization and bring about a new era in the department’s history.”