JD Final Paper - Case Study Police Department Consent Decree/Agreement
You are assigned to the Research and Development Unit of the Virtual Police Department. The Unit Director asked you to prepare a presentation for the Chief on U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decrees and agreements. It seems one of the Chief's close professional colleagues is now subject to such an agreement. The Chief wants to be sure he has done everything possible to avoid finding the Virtual Police Department in a similar predicament. The format of the presentation is quite simple. Using a selected city that is currently under (or recently been under) a DOJ consent decree/agreement as reference, provide the Chief with direction on how to avoid being subject to DOJ oversight.
Review the document, "Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice
or the same document using an alternate link
Select one of the following as your subject case study police department:
- The Warren (Ohio) Police Department https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-warren-ohio-police-department
- The Cincinnati (Ohio) Police Department http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/police/linkservid/97D9709F-F1C1-4A75-804C07D9873DC70F/showMeta/0/
- The Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Bureau of Police https://www.justice.gov/crt/united-states-district-court-western-district-pennsylvania-united-states-america-plaintiff-v-0
Research: Starting with the link provided, continue your research on the basis for and actions attentive to the subject consent decree/agreement, Review all of the pertinent documents, articles, websites, etc. until you feel you have a thorough understanding sufficient to respond to the Assignment questions.
- Briefly describe the situation(s) and/or event(s) that led up to DOJ oversight in the form of a consent decree/agreement (no more than 20% of the paper)
- Briefly outline the provisions of the consent decree/agreement. What actions is the department required to take? What changes is the department required to make?(no more than 20% of the paper)
- Connect the provisions of the consent decree/agreement to the initiating causes.
- Describe in detail what the Virtual Police Department needs to do in order to avoid following in the footsteps of the subject police department or otherwise find itself subject to DOJ oversight in he form of a consent decree/agreement (no less than 40% of the paper)
Formatting requirements: Your report should include:
- a cover page with your name, project title, course, and date submitted
- an introductory section that explains the purpose of the paper
- the body of the paper, which addresses four (4) elements outlined in Assignments
- a minimum of seven (7) maximum of 10 FULL narrative pages, not including cover page and references page and submit to the assignments folder.
- The composition may be a combination of outline and narrative with outline statements separated by no more than double spacing, 12 pt. font, and 1 inch margins.
- A minimum of three (3) outside sources not directly connected to the consent decree/agreement of the selected subject police department
- Resources, including course materials, must be cited both in the narrative and on a separate Resources page, using APA citation rules.
- Each item listed on the Resources page must also be cited at least once in the narrative to show where in the narrative the item was applied.
- At the instructor’s discretion, this project may be submitted to Turnitin or other service for verification of originality.
The law enforcement unit was put in place to protect its citizens. However, there are instances where this is not the case. When the members of this group violate the rights of the individuals of that country or state, then certain measures need to be taken against the former. The Consent Decree/Agreement adequately states the disciplinary measures. Therefore, any individual who experiences the violation of their civil rights ought to file a report with the United States Department of Justice.
The only factor or act that could result in oversight by the department of justice would be in the case of violation of civil rights of various individuals. The oversight is done through the implementation of an agreement between it and the law enforcement officials. It is to control and guide the officers on how they are to interact with the civilians whether they are citizens or noncitizens. However, this agreement differs with the different places and the level of crime rates. Larger areas and municipalities tend to experience an increased number of crimes, and this will greatly determine the war waged against police brutality.
Collection of Data
It came to the Chief’s attention of the misconduct in the Warren, Ohio, Police Department. Reported filed cases depicted the utilisation of excessive force by the members of that department against its citizens. This is an unlawful and unconstitutional act. As a result, the Chief ordered a thorough investigation to be carried out to determine whether there was truth to these claims. This research involved both the department’s employees and the members of the society. Both were very cooperative throughout the whole procedure.
As part of the investigation, all the recorded files of the department were recovered. We laid more emphasis on the reported cases of the apprehension of people of colour. In addition to that, there were filed report cases that did not add up. This was regarding their crimes and arrests and the state in which they got apprehended.This depicted the fact that WPD has a poor data collection system hence, most officers were not held accountable for their actions.
This investigation also involved the public who were more than willing to share their stories with us. Discretion and privacy of these individuals were upheld for their safety. Most of these persons gave a testimony of their encounter with the law enforcement officers. It was stated that being a man of colour increased your chances of getting arrested violently and sometimes without a substantial cause. Families of people who suffered also came forth. Some individuals were also shot undeservingly. This showed the discriminatory processes of various police officers. The aim of this was to increase community trust and police accountability.
After an extensive investigation, the Justice Department led by me, found reasonable cause implying that the WPD were, in fact, abusing their power especially when it came to dealing with people of colour (Robertsons, 2017). Despite having no final figures that depicted how many American citizens were shot, it is safe to say that the majority were black people. In addition to that, the institution had engaged in such activities regularly. Proper measures needed to be taken to prevent it from becoming a routine due to the lack of any consequences for the misconduct.
This violated the Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Therefore, a form of disciplinary action and a list of the appropriate conduct need to be established to curb police brutality to ensure that the current and the incoming officers comprehend what is required of them when it comes to performing their daily duties. In addition to this, these established policies will counter the effects of the systemic racial discriminatory process that impairs the judgment and ability of the institution to protect and serve all community members in a fair and just manner (Anderson, 2017). This will, in turn, repair the broken relationship between the society and the department and reduce the number of preventable excessive-force cases.
Establishment of Policies
To resolve the Justice Department investigations will, in turn, require both parties to reach an amicable agreement. The DOJ obtained a court order to get rid of the practice. Therefore, it entered into consent decrees. The implementation of these reforms was in stages for it to be sustainable and efficient. The Consent Decree is an agreement between two parties in a dispute submitted in writing to the court. It becomes legally binding once approved by the tribunal (Jefersons, 2012). The purpose of this is to prevent the partaking in actions that deprives people of their privileges, immunities, and rights protected by the Constitution of United States. Lastly, it aims at promoting the integrity of law enforcement institutions.
This Decree Consent agreement consisted of forty-seven provisions that ordered the department to address the issues discovered during the investigations. These requirements include:
- General Training and Policies – this addresses the circumstances in which varying levels of force can be utilised and the limitations of the use of the particular force.
- Reporting and data collection – concentrates on data collection and use of force reporting systems.
- Investigation and reviews - regular supervisory review on the utilisation of force.
- De-escalation and proportionality –the civil rights division require training of officers to help them comprehend the utilisation of power concerning the amount of resistance.
- Use of Chokeholds and Neck Holds –required particular limitations for the utilisation of these.
- Comprehensive training reform –the requirement of the department to implement training programs. This will be necessary for both in-service training and in the academy.
- Systems to improve officer supervision- required the law enforcement institutions to improve the supervision of their officers i.e. guidance on staffing plans.
- Officer disciplinary systems- the civil rights division requires to come up with procedures and policies covering police officers discipline for misconduct.
- Complaint systems- this needs this department to improve their system for handling internal complaints regarding police misconduct.
- Early intervention systems- the civil rights division demands for the proper collection and analysing of data to point out and intervene to correct patterns of potentially problematic behaviour among police officers.
Connection of the Provisions of the Decree Consent to the Initiating Causes
The Warren (Ohio) Police Department’s acts of omissions led to the engagement of system deficiencies that resulted in the practice and pattern of WPD officers' misconduct of utilisation of excessive force (Harrison, Cragg, & Williams, 2005). The following are some examples of systemic shortcomings. First and foremost, their failure to implement procedures, practices, and policies regarding the use of force that monitors and guide the actions of individual officers adequately.
Secondly, the lack of having a standard and quality training program for its officers to prevent the occurrence of police brutality even after various complaints were raised. In addition to that, there was inadequate supervision by the respective officials to prevent the reoccurrences of the misconduct (Petersons, 2017). For an institution to be productive or run efficiently, the individuals in charge need to be very observant and correct the mistakes of the officers before it gets out of hand. They failed to monitor the WPD officers who or might have engaged in this misconduct.
Thirdly, the failure of implementation of procedures and policies whereby, allegations and complaints of WPD officer misconduct to the community would be received and investigated appropriately. This would promote transparency in the police force and put to a halt the action of members of the respective community remaining quiet in fear of their complaints not being heard. They did not investigate incidents raised whereby the police officers used illegal and unlawful force. There were poor review and adjudication of citizen complaints in regard to the incidents in which a police officer used excessive force.
Lastly, the department’s failure to establish systems that discipline and punish officers, in accordance to their mistakes or who engage in any misconduct is one the factors that has contributed to it being subject to the DOJ. This is the reason why the consent of decree requires them to implement policies and come up with a disciplinary committee that will punish the officer appropriately. These and others are some of the causes that led to the DOJ coming up with the provisions of the consent agreement between it and the Department.
Virtual Police Department
The international NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative built up a unique concept of Virtual Police Station. It is being launched in the Capital to make the working of police station feasible for the general public. This training tool is a first of its kind that enables the public to comprehend the way a police station functions through the simple click of a mouse. In addition to that, it allows both the police officers and the public to enter every room of a digital station to explore and learn the primary techniques such as arrest, registration of complaints of sexual assault, and registration of FIRs. This is a significant step aimed at improving the functioning of the police by enabling individuals to understand the various tasks performed by each personnel in the station i.e. investigation, management, forensics, and going to court.
There are a few things that the virtual police department needs to consider for it to prevent itself from being subject to the Department of Justice especially regarding police brutality. Nowadays, the methods used to train officers have come under a lot of scrutiny by the society. Therefore, it is essential for it to use practical ways to equip the people that they are training, putting in mind one of the provisions: general training and policies. This requires the police officers to learn how and when the application of force is required.
This training program needs to incorporate the teaching of how to utilise the technologies and equipment that police officers have got access to. An example is a gun. They need to understand how and when to use it effectively. This is important so as to prevent them from taking innocent lives and at the same time for self-defense. Other than that, it will equip them with the necessary skills required for dealing with a mob or riot and still manage to use their equipment without the violation of anyone's civil rights.
Due to the rapidly growing succession of cases involving the police use of lethal force against people, it is important for this department to have an established disciplinary system.There could be an establishment of a disciplinary committee, and a set of rules and regulations that trainees ought to follow. Failure to that, would lead to punishments depending on the law that has been broken. In addition to that, there ought to be strict procedures and policies directed towards these individuals such as suspension from the program for one week to a month or even an expulsion. This will ensure that the people who graduate from this program know how to interact with the community and perform their tasks efficiently.
It is essential for them to be equipped with the appropriate data analysing and collecting skills. This will enable them to take note of any problem in the station and to intervene so as to prevent them from getting worse. This way, they will not end up being subjects to the department of justice. Furthermore, in the case of a supervisor, it will teach him/her on how to appoint the right people for different tasks. Therefore, this will reduce the amount of physical or emotional abuse being reported by the community in relation to the police institution.
In conclusion, for the Virtual Police Department to be effective, it has to ensure that the guidelines above are strictly adhered to. The law enforcement institution ought to understand that it exists for the sole purpose of serving the people. The civil rights of every individual needs to be upheld and respected. There is the need to establish systems that will defend the public and punish police officers for any misconduct.If they are not held accountable for their actions, this will promote animosity and distrust sentiments throughout their respective communities.
Anderson, J. (2017). U.S. v. Warren | Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse. Clearinghouse.net. Retrieved 3 May 2017, from https://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=5536
Harrison, J., Cragg, S., & Williams, H. (2005). Police misconduct (1st ed.). London: Legal Action Group.
Jefersons, S. (2012). Federal Consent Decree Fairness Act and the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2012 (1st ed.). Washington: U.S. G.P.O.
Petersons, C. (2017). Retrieved 3 May 2017, from https://www.clearinghouse.net/chDocs/public/PN-OH-0004-0004.pdf
Robertsons, C. (2017). Chapter 4. Usccr.gov. Retrieved 3 May 2017, from http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/guard/ch4.htm
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