Possible DOJ Reforms Take Our Communites in Wrong Direction

Apr 7, 2017

Cities United expresses real concern about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ directive to review all consent decrees between the DOJ and police forces across the country, going to court to delay Baltimore’s planned police reform developed under its consent decree.

 

Cities United—a national movement of more than 90 mayors committed to reducing the violence that affects our young Black men and boys—believes that this move takes our country in the wrong direction and jeopardizes communities’ public safety. Trust between law enforcement and communities, including communities of color, is critical to ensuring safe, healthy and hopeful communities for all.

 

“The Trump administration has issued yet another threat to cities that are working to build trust with their residents and make their cities safer,” said Minneapolis, MN Mayor Betsy Hodges, a Cities United advisory board member. “Our cities rely on mutual trust and strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve to keep our neighborhoods safe. Everyone — in every neighborhood, from every community, at every time — must feel safe calling 911.

 

“Adopting the best policies, principles, and practices of 21st-century policing looks like working with community to build trust, resilience, and transparency, and with police officers to enhance safety, professionalism, and well-being.

We urge the Department of Justice to maintain its role in community building and public safety by upholding civil rights and ensuring the capacity of police departments to protect and serve. There should be no turning back,” said Mayor Hodges.

 

While much of the work of public safety takes place at the local, county and state levels, the federal government has a critical role to play. Justice Department consent decrees have helped ensure local law enforcement will carry out 21st century policing practices that incorporates an all-hands-on-deck approach and empowers community members most affected to use their voices to hold systems accountable.

 

Cities United recently published a strategic resource for mayors on police-involved shootings and in-custody deaths that shared emerging best practices and effective responses to assist cities in adequately responding to, and ultimately preventing, these incidents from happening. The resource spotlighted the role of the Department of Justice to employ consent decrees to uphold civil rights and hold police departments accountable to their communities.

 

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ABOUT CITIES UNITED:

Cities United was launched in 2011 by former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, who partnered with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Casey Family Programs President and CEO, Dr. William C. Bell, Campaign for Black Male Achievement CEO, Shawn Dove and the National League of Cities to forge a national network of communities focused on eliminating violence in American cities related to African American men and boys. Today, this movement has grown to over 90 cities committed to working with community leaders, families, youth, philanthropic organizations and other stakeholders to cut the homicide rate of our young Black men and boys in half by the year 2025. These cities are focused on restoring hope to their communities and building pathways to justice, employment, education and increased opportunities for residents. For more information: www.citiesunited.org. Twitter: @CitiesUnited.

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