Ruppersberger Champions Funding for Police Reform including Consent Decree Compliance
(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) successfully fought for more than $400 million for police reforms across the country, including $7.2 million to help state and local law enforcement comply with federal consent decrees. Congressman Ruppersberger, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, requested the money be included in the Fiscal Year 2021 Commerce-Justice-Science Funding Bill, which cleared the full committee today and now heads to the House floor for a vote.
Under the legislation, police departments will be able to compete for grants to support compliance with consent decrees ordered by the Department of Justice. The Baltimore City Police Department has been under a consent decree since January 2017 after a Department of Justice report detailed systemic, repeated violations of the constitutional rights of residents. Baltimore invited the Justice Department to conduct the investigation following the 2015 death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody.
“Commissioner Harrison and Baltimore’s police department have been making great progress on its consent decree, but these agreements are extremely heavy lifts that take money to implement,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “This federal funding will help police departments end discriminatory practices, increase training and strengthen civilian oversight and transparency. It will help restore trust between officers and the people they are sworn to protect not just here in Baltimore, but in communities across the country.”
"The City of Baltimore is thankful to Congressman Ruppersberger and Team Maryland for helping keep Baltimore's police reform front and center," Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young said. "The work of reforming our police department is not easy, but we are grateful to our federal partners. We are committed to providing the citizens of Baltimore with a first-class department and our agency has made steady and consistent strides toward that end."
“I would like to personally thank Congressman Ruppersberger for his leadership and have very much appreciated working with him over the last year on this issue," said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael S. Harrison. "Consent Decree departments are at the forefront of police reform in this country and I believe that this proposal recognizes that we need a partnership at every level of government to further these efforts.”
The legislation also includes $400 million in new funding to carry out police reform initiatives including:
- $100 million for pattern and practice investigations;
- $250 million to implement statutes providing for independent investigation of law enforcement;
- $25 million for community-based organizations aimed at improving law enforcement;
- $25 million for pilot programs and the implementation of effective standards and programs aimed at improving management and addressing misconduct by law enforcement officers.