DOJ, Baltimore Announce Police Reform Consent Decree

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After five months of negotiation, Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to the terms of a consent decree mandating reform of the city’s police department, The agreement was approved by top city officials at a special meeting today, the Baltimore Sun reports. It must also be approved by a U.S. District Court judge before becoming binding. Mayor Catherine Pugh and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the agreement this morning. “This agreement is binding and will live on,” Lynch said when she was asked if the administration of President-elect Donald Trump could undo it. She is scheduled to give a speech on community policing this afternoon at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and to meet with community groups and law enforcement officials.

The consent decree will require the police department to introduce new layers of oversight for officers, new methods of tracking misconduct and other data, new training, and major investments in modern technologies — including mobile computers in patrol vehicles — to streamline operations and enhance data retention and analysis. Pugh has said the agreement calls for civilians to serve on police trial boards that assess officer wrongdoing, but police union officials say the decree cannot supersede the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the city, which bars civilian participation.

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