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Cleveland Consent Decree Monitor Expects No Major Impact From a Trump Presidency

Matthew Barge
Cleveland Police Monitoring Team

President-elect Donald Trump’s “tough on crime” stance has raised questions about how far federal consent decrees for police reform can go. The head of the  Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association tells cleveland.com it is looking into possible adjustments to the city’s agreement with the Justice Department. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on what the Trump presidency could mean. 

Cleveland consent decree monitor Matthew Barge says these agreements can take years to implement, so their evolution may span different political administrations. He says police consent decrees began in 1994 under President Bill Clinton, and some changes came under President George W. Bush after 9/11.

“What you see just by the numbers is that there was a decrease over time in the number of new investigations of police departments that were initiated. But it wasn’t as though the consent decrees that were on the books when that administration came on board immediately stopped. They continued to run until the judges and respective jurisdictions determined that here had been sufficient compliance with the decree.”

Barge says because consent decrees are federal court orders, wholesale changes are unlikely.