Emboldened by Donald Trump’s election, some police labor organizations want to renegotiate consent decrees agreed to under President Obama, Reuters reports. Consent decrees negotiated by police forces and the Justice Department can prescribe changes to use of force, recruiting, training and discipline. They are enforced by a federal court with the oversight of court-appointed monitors. Some 14 police departments, including Seattle and Miami, are operating under the decrees. The police groups want to discuss the decrees with Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general choice, who has voiced criticism of them. Any renegotiation would be complicated because all parties as well as a federal judge must approve any changes.
“There are certainly decrees that are inartfully applied that we’d like to see revisited,” said Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union with 330,000 members. It endorsed Trump in September and has worked with Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, for years while lobbying Congress for pro-police policies. “We’ve always found him a man who’s willing to listen to alternatives to a previously charted course,” Pasco said. Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, says court-ordered reforms aimed at curbing police abuses in Cleveland are not working. Loomis said Trump seemed receptive to Loomis’ concerns at a meeting in September that federally monitored police reforms introduced during the Obama administration in response to complaints of police bias and abuse are ineffective and impose an onerous burden on police forces. Trump, Loomis said, was “taken aback by the waste of money” when the union chief told him that federal monitors overseeing his city’s police department earned $250 an hour.