So they were surprised by the Justice Department's sudden request Monday for more time to see how the proposed changes might conflict with new Attorney General Jeff Sessions' crime-fighting agenda.
JEFF SESSIONS: President Trump issued an order. And he doesn't issue modest orders. He said - to the attorney general - he said the policy of this executive branch is to reduce crime in America. But law-and-order conservatives dislike the consent decrees, saying they unfairly paint cops as racially biased and, well, handcuff them from using police tactics that protect them from violent criminals.
Chicago insists it'll push ahead with reforms no matter what the Justice Department does.
Pullback from performance has always been called the "Ferguson effect", first coined by Sam Dotson, the chief of the St. Louis Police Department, back in 2014.
The consent decree agreed to in May 2015 provided for an oversight commission and an emphasis on "bias-free policing".
MARTIN: So you mentioned this pause. The government's request for a 90-day continuance came three days before a scheduled hearing before a federal judge. Now all of this is being delayed. The report found police had a pattern of excessive force, such as when an officer used a Taser on a naked elderly woman or when an officer pointed his gun at teenage boys playing basketball on his property. I have asked for their initial recommendations by July 27th, but I will continue to act on their recommendations as they become available.
"If a consent decree is warranted, a consent decree should be imposed", Pasco said.
Baltimore officials, either unaware of the danger of the consent decree as a first step to federal control, or else party to the effort, were appalled at Sessions' request. And I said we understood all ramifications and that we don't know exactly what the cost would be. Fixing this, and building trust in the community, protects both police and citizens alike.
In a two-page memo, Sessions said agreements reached previously between the department's civil rights division and local police departments - a key legacy of the Obama administration - will be subject to review by his two top deputies, throwing into question whether all of the agreements will stay in place. Why, as a local official, wouldn't that be appealing to you?
In a written statement, Cleveland's Consent Decree Implementation Coordinator Greg White says the city doesn't anticipate any major changes in what it's doing under the consent decree. What must be put in place to, one, create that trust, to stop the infractions that were being courted by our particular police department? Five years later, the department was released from the agreement after implementing significant reforms that included installing video recorders in police cars and improving its system of reviewing police shootings.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in OR said, so far, there have been no changes based on the memo. "I'm not sure what that means, especially for Seattle", said Kevin Stuckey, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild. It talks about the need for better training. He says Ferguson has already made several reforms and says the city will not go back on those reforms. "We're just looking forward to a fair shake".
Think about it: if a detective, a law professor, a TV cop, or a Supreme Court justice gets arrested, why do the police read them their Miranda rights?
Sessions believes federal intervention has led in some circumstances to less aggressive law enforcement and to a spike in violence in some cities, particularly Chicago, where negotiations over a possible consent decree are now uncertain under his leadership.