Attorney General

AG Garland announces limits on federal monitors overseeing police department consent decrees

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AG Merrick Garldn

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo by Win McNamee/The Associated Press.

Monitors overseeing police departments as a result of federal consent decrees and lawsuit settlements will have their powers curbed as a result of changes implemented by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

In a press release and a speech, Garland said Monday monitors will be more accountable, and their monitoring will be structured more efficiently going forward. Steps being taken include:

• Annual caps on monitors’ fees.

• A ban on lead monitors serving on more than one monitoring team at a time.

• Specified term limits for monitors that can only be renewed after judicial evaluation and appointment.

• Training for new monitors.

• Requirements for a hearing after no more than five years to assess police progress and consider whether monitoring should be terminated.

Garland announced the changes at a conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Members of the group were among those weighing in on possible improvements when the Department of Justice had more than 50 listening sessions.

It is no secret, Garland said in prepared remarks, that some monitorships “have led to frustrations and concerns within the law enforcement community.”

“We hear you,” he said.

Law enforcement groups praised the changes, the Washington Post and the New York Times reported.

“This is a big deal,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, in an interview with the New York Times. “This is what we’ve asked for. It builds accountability into a process that needs accountability.”

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