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Detroit Police Commissioners: Consent decrees should remain a tool to curb police abuse

detroit police car
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Detroit's Board of Police Commissioners has passed a resolution asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue using consent decrees to control police abuses. 

The U.S. Justice Department uses consent decrees to eliminate patterns of abusive practices by police.

But Sessions says consent decrees can reduce morale among officers, and make them less effective at reducing crime. Sessions has asked for a review of all current consent decrees over police departments. 

Detroit's police department operated under a consent decree from 2003 to 2016 because of its pattern of deadly uses of force and illegal detentions of witnesses, among other things.

Detroit's civilian Board of Police Commissioners says the decree had a positive impact on the police force, and was effective at eliminating the abusive practices.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.