What Can Justice Department Learn from Detroit’s Consent Decrees?

Jake Neher/WDET

Warren Evans

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a memo in early April for the Department of Justice to review all consent agreements with city police departments under investigation for bad policing. That includes cities like Ferguson, Los Angeles, New Orleans and investigations in Chicago and Baltimore.

The Detroit Police Department was operating with oversight from the Department of Justice not so long ago to fix problems with brutality and corruption from the 1990s. That working relationship was seemingly effective and good for the overall health of the department. But it took a long time. What can the Justice Department under Sessions learn from the work done in Detroit?

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Wayne County Executive and former Chief of Detroit Police Department, Warren Evans about this memo in the context of Detroit’s own history with federal police oversight.

A consent agreement is a reactive approach, and [it] occurs because the department hasn’t taken a proactive approach to properly supervise, train, and deal with its people… Once you get into that situation… the consent agreement winds up being the dynamite to kind of blast yourself out of that mess that you’re in,” says Evans. “The real work has to get done in the precincts throughout the city.”

To hear the full conversation, click the link above.

Image credit: Bre'Anna Tinsley/ WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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