This is a report on a roundtable that was conducted in 2010 in order to review the last 15 years of litigation and future directions for the implementation of section 14141 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code, which grants authority to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to intervene in local jurisdictions where police agencies engaged in patterns or practices of violating constitutional rights or Federal law.
The roundtable was convened by DOJ's Civil Rights Division (CRT) and Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The roundtable included police chiefs and other law enforcement executives, attorneys, case monitors, advocates, and other Federal staff. The roundtable considered what might be learned from past experiences and suggestions related to the future of section 14141 litigation. Topics addressed by the roundtable included jurisdiction selection, police policies and procedures, the development of agreements, monitoring compliance, and the sustainability of changes implemented in the section 14141process. Everyone providing comments during the roundtable meeting acknowledged the effectiveness of pattern or practice litigation in reforming policies and practices in local police organizations. Overall, police chiefs reported that section 14141litigation was helpful in making reforms in police agencies by providing resources and focusing on making needed changes in police policy and practice. A number of suggestions for improvements were offered. There was general recognition that police organizational reform is not achieved easily or quickly; however, section 14141litigation is an effective mechanism for initiating and guiding changes in local police departments. There was an apparent consensus among participants that in addition to legal representatives, the process should involve police officials, relevant subject-matter experts, labor unions, and community representatives. Police officials requested that they be informed of a section 14141 investigation as early as possible in the process. 11 notes and a list of roundtable participants
Date Published: September 1, 2011