Consent Decree = Failed Leadership
Leaders Use Consent Decrees As The Ultimate Scapegoat
Last month I discussed the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Consent Decree and the scam that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been implementing on law enforcement agencies for the last 28 years. I won’t repeat those talking points but it is important to see the foundation that I laid out in that initial article.
I continue to hear law enforcement leaders say that they are doing “XYZ” so they can avoid a consent decree but the truth is that no one can avoid it and the sooner our leaders figure this out, the better.
The DOJ has never published their guidelines or the factors they use to decide a “pattern and practice” investigation on a law enforcement agency and they never will.
That is because it is a scam.
The DOJ selects their agencies based on politics and compliance. They need a willing politician that will say yes and that is what they found in every agency that a consent decree was imposed.
Just one agency has called the DOJ out on their so called “investigation” and took them to court and a consent decree was not imposed and the reason is quite simple.
The investigation including the research methodology would have to be proven.
With this in mind, it’s interesting that the DOJ leaves federal agencies and sheriff’s departments alone. You will only see consent decrees in municipalities where the politicians and chiefs have often asked the DOJ to come in and willingly sign up for millions of dollars of wasted taxpayer dollars with the hope and assurance that crime will rise and agencies will suffer.
The pitch that any agency, anywhere, needs the DOJ to come in and save the day to help “build trust” in the community is a joke on epic proportions and I suspect the leaders know that.
After all, we have almost 30 years of data to show the failure of consent decrees as it pertains to a rise in crime, millions spent, and a community much less safe. No one with a functioning brain can actually tout how their community is better off after the DOJ visits and that includes the scam called building “trust.”
Asking for a DOJ investigation and subsequent agreement to a consent decree is the biggest failure of leadership in American Law Enforcement today and it’s often used to simply take any potential blame from a chief or mayor in the name of “we will fix it” by calling the DOJ.
It’s the ultimate scapegoat whether there is an actual problem within the agency or not.
The Scam Revealed
I pointed much of this out in the days after the Louisville Consent Decree was agreed to by the city. It was a typical “copy and paste” document with vague allegations using tired and dysfunctional data manipulation, such as comparing police activity to the census rather than actual crime along with a handful of past incidents that gave no context other than the DOJ’s opinion that the civil rights of citizens were being violated and crimes being committed by the police officers in the agency.
Of course the DOJ wasn’t pursuing federal charges against those they accused because once again, that would require actual evidence rather than a lofty opinion.
But the citizens of Louisville did something after reading the document that the DOJ likely wasn’t expecting…They asked for the receipts.
The community asked for the details of those incidents so they could pursue “justice” against the officers that the DOJ claims were violating federal law and that is where it got fun.
The DOJ refused.
And you actually thought that the DOJ cared about communities?
A local news station was then able to obtain a copy of a secret addendum to the original DOJ Report.
After a review of arrests, reports and body camera footage over several years, the DOJ based their findings on 63 incidents. Of those incidents, 14 where excessive use of force, 10 were discriminatory and 6 were search warrant violations.
If all that is accurate and the refusal of the DOJ to give specifics should make anyone doubt that it is, is that worth 10 million dollars a year and the total destruction of the police department including even more violent crime plaguing the city?
Unlike the whimsical opinion of the DOJ, we have decades of consent decrees to know exactly what will be happening in the city of Louisville in the coming years and the city isn’t exactly Disneyland at the moment.
The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department responds to over 500,000 911 calls each year. They make thousands of arrests while executing a few thousand search warrants each and every year. Louisville also happens to be one of the most violent cities in America. Our friends at the DOJ also compile those figures and even google understands.
Unfortunately, there is also a tremendous disparity in who is committing that violent crime. In 2021, blacks were the suspects in 66% of the violent crimes. Considering they make up 23% in the population, only the clowns at the DOJ would attribute racism when cops use force against blacks at “twice the overall percentage of Black residents in Louisville Metro.”
Here’s a hint to all the law enforcement “experts” over at the DOJ. The only citizens in a community subject to use of force are those being arrested so that data is sort of important if you are going to analyze any law enforcement agency. The data compiled and published by the DOJ indicates that blacks are committing crime in Louisville at a much higher rate than their representation in the population. The DOJ knows all of this and that is why they conveniently leave it out of their reports and their virtue signaling press releases.
Pattern and Practice
The DOJ just didn’t look at one year of activity but multiple years and those 63 incidents was their “pattern and practice” of unconstitutional policing?
Do you understand now why no on is safe from this scam called the DOJ Consent Decree.
Imagine any organization on the planet coming into contact with millions of people over several years, under high stress conditions often involving limited information that sometimes requires a split second decision and they get accused of “racial discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Safe Streets Act” based on 63 incidents where 10 were listed as discriminatory.
That sounds crazy.
But not as crazy as that same organization and the leaders involved simply agreeing and doing whatever they are told to do to “fix” this horrible organization. After three decades of this fraud, I expect the DOJ to misinform the public but we should never expect law enforcement leaders to permit it.
Same Scam…Another Agency
And it’s the same story in Springfield (MA). The Department of Justice claimed that the Springfield Police Department and their officers violated the civil rights of criminal defendants. The Hampden County District Attorney asked for specific details and incidents so they could review the cases on behalf of those defendants and the DOJ refused. The DA recently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court, to compel the DOJ to produce any documents they used as the basis of its findings. Meanwhile the police department found no basis for the allegations and released a rebuttal document to the public.
But none of that will matter because the cowards making the decisions in Springfield agreed to the consent decree so evidence or not, it’s time to make Springfield a safe haven for criminals.
Our Cowards Are To Blame
I don’t want to come across like all of this is the fault of the DOJ because it’s not. The federal government will continue to do what the federal government has done for over 200 years…screw anything up they touch.
DOJ Consent Decrees would not exist without the permission of our police chiefs and mayors. At a minimum, the DOJ should have to actually prove their case but until now they have not been held accountable to the same standards that every police officer has when they accuse someone of anything.
Law enforcement leaders need to stop being concerned with the DOJ and begin leading agencies to be the best they can be. Policy and training should be top notch and this isn’t rocket science. Go grab a Lexipol Policy Manual that up until now, doesn’t play politics and games with best practices. While you are there, give your officers a subscription to their online training and conduct your own training at a much higher standard than your state minimum requirements.
Stay focused on the mission of crime and safety and analyze every piece of data that you have. The DOJ loves to manipulate data and the best money you could spend is to use software to track and analyze your use of force in real time. Bob Scales is your friend in this area and I highly encourage you to listen to my interview with him.
Courageous Police Leadership
Lastly, this is what Courageous Police Leadership is and these principles will keep you on the right track at all times. In a future article, I will discuss how daily application with the Courageous Police Leadership Principles will not only give you plenty of laughter if the DOJ wanted to visit but how they can serve as kryptonite against anyone, at any time, that attempts to do damage to your agency or your personnel.
It is time for law enforcement leaders to fight back. We’ve given away enough ground to insanity. It’s time to get back to fighting crime.
The community deserves it.
Dr. Travis Yates is a commander with a large municipal police department and author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies.” His risk management and leadership seminars have been taught to thousands of professionals across the world. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Leadership and the CEO of the Courageous Police Leadership Alliance.
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