Police Task Forces Criticized for Lack of Oversight


Law enforcement task forces are under increased scrutiny since the recent fatal shooting by a federal agent of a suspect in a Detroit armed robbery, reports the Detroit News. The joint efforts, which go back decades, allow police to pool information and resources. Detroit, suburban, state and federal departments are involved in dozens of task forces, targeting issues that include catching fugitives, fighting truancy, investigating sex and drug crimes and combating copper thefts.

Cash-strapped Metro-area police departments can benefit from pooling resources. But critics say there is insufficient oversight and governance of the task forces. Ron Scott, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said task forces aren’t accountable to local citizens in the way individual police departments are. The ACLU has called for freezing the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team task force until questions about how it operates can be answered. The rights group raised the issue in the wake of the April 27 fatal shooting of Terrance Kellom by Mitchell Quinn, an immigration agent on a task force trying to arrest Kellom.

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