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Report: Feds to Oversee Detroit Police

June 11, 2003

DETROIT (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department will appoint a federal monitor to oversee the city’s police department after a probe into civilian shootings found problems with guidelines on the use of force, according to a published report.

The Justice Department was expected to announce Thursday whether it will take the more severe step of seeking a court order that would mandate costly changes, the Detroit Free Press reported in a story for Wednesday editions.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick confirmed that an announcement regarding an agreement is expected Thursday but did not say what it would be.

Gina Balaya, spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Jeffery Collins, and Department of Justice spokesman Jorge Martinez declined comment.

The two-year long Justice Department investigation _ prompted by fatal civilian shootings by officers in 2000 _ found serious flaws in the police department’s policies on the use of force and treatment of prisoners.

City officials said they feared the inquiry would end in a consent decree, which is a judge’s order requiring specific changes in police policies _ regardless of cost.

Any settlement will cost the city some control over how the department is run because the monitor will have a strong say.

The agreement is expected to bring to a close a 30-month civil rights probe into the police department, requested by then-Mayor Dennis Archer.

Kilpatrick and Police Chief Jerry Oliver have been working with federal officials to avoid a consent decree since shortly after taking office in early 2002.

Last spring, the Justice Department recommended more than 175 policy changes.

Oliver already has made changes, such as revising how officers are trained to use force and fixing detention cells in precincts. He has pledged to address all the Justice Department’s concerns.

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