Sam Walker released on February 24th an assessment of the 20 years of the U.S. Justice Department’s “pattern or practice” program, which resulted in 30 settlements with local law enforcement agencies mandating comprehensive reforms. Walker argues that the program has been an ambitious and unprecedented effort by the Justice Department to end systemic abuses related to uses of force, racial and ethnic discrimination, and other problems. The assessment concludes that, for the most part, the pattern or practice program has been successful in bringing about major changes in police departments. There has been backsliding in some departments, but there are no known cases of complete failure. The DOJ program has made a major contribution to police reform by establishing a set of minimum “best practices” necessary for constitutional policing. Among other issues discussed in the report, the DOJ program has highlighted the enormous challenge of attempting to transform large public bureaucracies. The report discusses these and other issues raised by the DOJ program.

Read the report here: DOJ P&P Program Feb24