DOJ Rolls Back Program Aiming For Police Department Reform

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by, from left, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, speaks during a briefing at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, on leaks of classified material threatening national security, one week after President Donald Trump complained that Sessions was weak on preventing such disclosures. (AP Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

The Department of Justice announced on Friday that it will significantly scale back the Collaborative Reform Initiative, an Obama-era program aimed at improving police departments and their relations with the communities they serve.

The changes would end the program’s investigations into the departments and suggestions for reform, according to the Washington Post.

Instead, the Justice Department will focus on “targeted assistance directly to local law enforcement based on their identified needs and requests.”

“This is a course correction to ensure that resources go to agencies that require assistance rather than expensive wide-ranging investigative assessments that go beyond the scope of technical assistance and support,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release.

Run by the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the Reform Initiative is a voluntary program created in 2014 in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Police departments that signed up for it worked with COPS to receive public reports outlining problems and solutions with regards their policing practices.

The announcement came on the same day as the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white St. Louis police officer who shot a black man during a high-speed chase in 2011.

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