Crime

Sessions Wants To Decrease Federal Oversight Of Police

| by Ray Brown

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wants to decrease federal oversight of local police departments that have been involved in police brutality incidents, including shooting unarmed people.

"The Department of Justice agrees with the need to rebuild public confidence in law enforcement through common-sense reforms, such as de-escalation training, and we will punish any police conduct that violates civil rights," Sessions wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today. "But such reforms must promote public safety and avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of local police."

Sessions argued that violent crime is on the rise in the U.S. and one of the reasons is police have been pressured to be less proactive in their policing.

"When proactive policing declines and violent crime rises, minority communities get hit the hardest. We will not sign consent decrees for political expediency that will cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals," he wrote. "Every neighborhood needs to be safe and peaceful."

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Sessions did not cite specific examples of how police have been discouraged from being more proactive when it comes to preventing violent crime.

Sessions added: "Our first priority must be to save lives, restore public safety, and bring back the community policing that we know works. To help achieve those goals, the department, with the help of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, will focus our efforts on thwarting violent crime, drug trafficking, and gun crime and gang violence. If combating violent crime and restoring public safety are seen as dramatic reversals, then I fully support such a sea change."

During the last years of former President Barack Obama's administration, the DOJ attempted to help solve local police department's problems regarding racial profiling and police brutality. The DOJ under Obama conducted 25 probes and issued consent decrees for improvement on 14 police departments, including those in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri, according to Buzzfeed.

But Sessions has made it clear since taking office as Attorney General that he intends to roll back those directives to diminish oversight of local police departments.

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In a two-page memo issued on March 31, Sessions said it is not the "responsibility of the federal government to manage" thousands of local police departments and said "the individual misdeeds of bad actors should not impugn" police departments to do their work.

The memo did not cite examples of how any of the Obama DOJ decrees hampered police officers.

Sources: USA Today, Buzzfeed / Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Flickr

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