Consent Decree Confusion


A Pierce County (WA) law official welcomes U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ comments about the Department of Justice easing up on local police departments.


“The previous presidential administration, they were big on going in and taking over a police department,” said Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. “Unfortunately, what that did was get a lot of different officers and police agencies to stop engaging; they didn’t want to get themselves in a situation where that agency would come in and take over. We’ve seen how (the DOJ) comes in and takes over, and it does take over, and it disrupts the entire police department.”


Sessions ordered the Justice Department last week to undertake a comprehensive review of all police reform activities.


Troyer said that Seattle lost a couple of “great guys” that were high up in the police ranks after the department was placed under a DOJ consent decree in 2012.


But the Pierce County detective was quick to point out that just because he doesn’t think the DOJ should take over police departments, that doesn’t mean that police don’t have problems. And those issues should be dealt with.


“Every department has its own problems and people with problems,” he said. “You can’t have one or two of them dictate what’s going to happen department-wide. Those people still need to be dealt with. I’ve seen Seattle do it recently. We’ve done it. I’ve seen other agencies take care of problems in their department, hold people accountable, clear up to termination, or even have charges filed by the prosecutor’s office. That still needs to be done and there still needs to be oversight on police agencies. But for a whole entire federal agency to come in and take over a whole entire police department, that is a big waste of resources, and always has been.”

(Ed. note: Seattle has been operating under an agreement with DOJ (known as a consent decree) for four years.)


Leave a Reply