The US Department of Justice will descend on Memphis to review police policies, but it’s not just for one day, Agents will stick around until recommended reforms are made.
Joe Brann, who oversees compliance with the collaborative reform process in other cities that Memphis will be going through says we can expect to see DOJ working with MPD for a minimum of five years.
Brann says if past collaborative processes are any indicator the process will create a “cultural transformation” within the force that will benefit the department and rebuild community trust.
Demonstrators stormed the I-40 Bridge in memphis, last July, demanding community policing that treats everyone fairly.
“The Department of Justice has been requested not only by state representatives and not only by the NAACP but also Congressman Steve Cohen,” said Devante Hill, one of the protestors last July.
Indeed, Congressman Cohen’s July 2015 letter requesting DOJ review of the Darrius Stewart shooting by a MPD officer also requested a broader investigation into Memphis Police.
“There’s been a series of incidents that has made the public concerned that the system is not working,” said Cohen last January.
State representative G A Hardaway and eight other legislators and civil rights organizations also made the request this past July.
“The Department of justice needs to come and evaluate,” Hardaway declared in July.
DOJ is taking the requests seriously.
“We’re looking at working with the Department of Justice’s office of community oriented policing service also known as COPS on a Collaborative Reform Initiative that will exclusively benefit the Memphis Police Department,” said United States Attorney Edward Stanton.
Stanton made the announcement he says because he recommended the Reform Process. Mayor Jim Strickland formally requested the program.
“The feds will come in here. There in about a dozen cities right now with this COPS program and they help you with best practices.”
Joe Brann is a DOJ monitor who is responsible for overseeing the collaborative reform initiative in a number of the cities.
Brann says the review, whether collaborative or court ordered, “as in Ferguson,” the degree of DOJ examination will generally be the same
“I would say though that it’s it’s going to be no less comprehensive by the investigating authority. It’s typically going to be just as comprehensive just as thorough,” Brann said.
Here is how he said it will work the DOJ will examine Memphis Police practices, policies and training. Then, DOJ will make recommendations and stick around to make sure they are implemented.
Brann says the process can take between five and 15 years, depending on the willingness of a police department to make changes.
“The real difference may lie in how quickly they the parties can come to agreement about what needs to be done.”
“I think it’s great news. I hope our whole city sees it that’s really good news.”
Mayor strickland says he not only welcomes the DOJ as does MPD Director Rallings who Strickland says recommended the COPS program and collaborative reform process to him.