Consent Decrees do not Equal Better Policing

The Baltimore, Maryland police department has joined Chicago under the thumb of a consent decree.

According to an article titled “Ignoring Police Violence” on the left-leaning, political web site prospect.org, investigations had shown that the police were intentionally discriminant against African-Americans and abused their powers of search and seizure.

AG Jeff Sessions was against the decree, stating “While the Department of Justice continues to fully support police reform in Baltimore, I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers of the police department and result in a less safe city.”

As we know from a previous article, that is exactly what is going to happen. Under the new consent decree, Baltimore PD will have to log -  in detail - every single thing they do. While this seems like a great idea (and yes, police officers should be accountable for their actions), it’s going to have an adverse effect. Rather than not log their actions (which they would most likely get caught for), they can just choose to not respond to an incident, patrol an area, or pull someone over, etc. Less action = less paperwork.

While this lengthy article cites many sources to try and prove its point, one part that doesn’t make any sense is this:

The real problem Sessions seems to have with these instruments—which he has admitted publicly he hasn’t even read—is that they force police departments to be accountable to the public.

Um, …excuse me? Consent decrees are enacted by the Department of Justice, aka the Federal Government.  This article even says, “Today, a federal court entered a consent decree that will require the court and a highly-paid monitor to govern every detail of how the Baltimore Police Department functions for the foreseeable future. “The Baltimore PD is now accountable to the Federal Government, who will ultimately determine who gets to keep their job and who doesn’t.

Without any Federal involvement, police departments are accountable to the public. Officers answer to the Sheriff or Chief of Police, who answers to the Mayor or City Council President, who is elected by YOU, the public.

The article goes on and on, explaining how corrupt the Baltimore PD is and why it needs this consent decree, and much more could be picked apart and analyzed, but we will leave with this excerpt:

The largest section in Baltimore’s 227-page consent decree agreement focuses on misconduct investigations and police discipline. The department is now compelled to respond to all civilian complaints and investigate them to completion in a timely manner. They are required to organize collected data around the complaints in order to better identify which officers are getting flagged the most and for what reasons.

Let me ask you this, citizens: Will officers now be responding to calls because they know it is their responsibility as a public servant, or will they be responding out of fear of what may come down on them from above? Will they be able to effectively perform their jobs knowing they are being closely watched every second of their day? Will they still be able to make split second decisions in dangerous situations when they are worried about the repercussions of their actions?

There are bad cops out there. There are corrupt departments. But the solution does not lie within the Federal government. The solution lies with you – the public – the ones to whom the police are held responsible. It is your responsibility to be involved with your community.