Sessions Orders Review Of Police Reform Agreements

Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a statement on issues related to visas and travel, Monday, March 6, 2017, from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday ordered the Justice Department to review agreements with police departments for reform made during the Obama administration.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department investigated several police departments, looking for patterns of discrimination and excessive force, and made agreements known as consent decrees with some departments.

In a Monday memo, Sessions said that the department will review all “collaborative investigations and prosecutions, grant making, technical assistance and training, compliance reviews, existing or contemplated consent decrees, and task force participation” to make sure that they are aligned with the department’s priorities.

The Washington Post first reported the memo on Monday night.

In the memo, Sessions wrote that the Justice Department must promote office safety and morale, and that police officers should respect the civil rights of the public. He also suggested that the federal government should take a step back when it comes to overseeing local police departments.

“Local control and local accountability are necessary for effective local policing. It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies,” he wrote.

The memo came as the Department of Justice asked a federal judge to delay a hearing on an agreement reached by the Obama administration with the Baltimore police department.

“The Department must ensure that such contemplated consent decrees advance the safety and protection of the public, promote officer safety and morale, protect and respect the civil rights of all members of the public, respect local control of law enforcement, are rooted in timely and reliable statistics on crime and criminals, and do not impede recruitment and training of officers,” DOJ attorneys wrote in the filing, per CNN. “There are few better examples of places where such difficult and important work is necessary than Baltimore.”