Anyone with a fifth-grade literacy level can see clearly from this website and others that DOJ consent decrees are unmitigated disasters for the cities that are forced into “voluntarily” agreeing to them.
Law enforcement agencies and communities are destroyed after the Department of Justice (DOJ) implements a Consent Decree.
Consent decrees only occur under two scenarios.
The agency and city agree to have one or they reject it. The DOJ has the option to take that rejection to court and prove their case, but they have never proven themselves to be ready for Prime Time in that regard.
In court there is this little obstacle called “evidence” and that is where the DOJ really struggles.
The thirty-year track record of consent decrees combined with the data on crime and budgets have likely turned many away from any desire to see Phoenix go in this direction and that is exactly why the DOJ always has a “Plan B” for destruction.
Through constant messaging and grassroots organization by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, with assistance from this website, local radio radio personality Mike Broomhead, and national police leadership voices like Travis Yates and Bob Scales, the Consent Decree brand name has been rendered toxic in the Valley of the Sun.
Because the DOJ must have an agreement to impose their will, a rejection by the Phoenix City Council on any potential consent decree would immediately cause the DOJ and its agents to pivot to “Plan B.”
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
The DOJ is not in the habit of having to go to “Plan B” but they will if needed and that seed has already been planted in Phoenix.
Politically, the MOA sounds like a reasonable alternative to the dirty word called “consent decree” but like any good magic trick, it’s a sleight of hand designed to get you to look one way while they destroy you with the exact same plan contained in a standard-issue DOJ Consent Decree.
A Memorandum of Agreement is the exact same as a consent decree with one terrible exception. Rather than a Monitor being held accountable to a federal judge, the DOJ handles everything itself. Some MOA’s have Monitors, and some don’t; either way, DOJ is calling all the shots with nowhere to run.
In fact, an MOA is much WORSE than a consent decree. Once signed, only the DOJ itself can decide when it ends. And just as bad for agencies is the fact that DOJ uses these agreements to formalize its continuing access to all department records, reports, data, files – everything. What was once the voluntary sharing of information becomes compelled – DOJ gets the keys, and they’re not giving them back.
While the history of consent decrees tells us that any federal judge supervising a monitor is very much down with a life-long status of the consent decree, in theory a judge is supposed to be un-biased.
The DOJ…not so much.
Unlike a judge, the Department of Justice is not bound by the same ethical standards – it should be, as the nation’s “top law enforcement organization.”
But it’s not.
Have you seen the news lately? The DOJ has become a partisan political hit squad, or worse. And they want to set up a base for their schemes right here in Phoenix.
The DOJ does what they want…when they want and if anyone believes that a MOA would somehow be better for the city of Phoenix than a consent decree involving a judge, they are trying to sell you waterfront property in the middle of the desert.
The Selling of the Trojan Horse
We told you weeks ago that there were officials in Phoenix that wanted a consent decree but the pesky details on what they have done to other communities have really placed a damper on those dreams.
So “Plan B” is ready to go.
Last week, the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association helped blow the whistle on city management providing a bogus chart to the City Council in a briefing packet on the DOJ investigation status that was misleadingly constructed to make it seem like the ONLY options for a city under DOJ investigation are a Consent Decree or a Memorandum of Agreement.
Nothing can be further from the truth – they got caught trying to prime the pump for “Plan B.”
The Trojan Horse will sound something like this:
“I do not believe that a consent decree is what is best for our police department, but I believe partnering with the DOJ will only help our efforts to make us the best department in the nation.”
The city council will be told that it is a better option. They may even be told that it won’t blow up the budget or won’t affect crime but that will be a lie on many levels.
No History=Bad History
Unlike consent decrees, there isn’t a long history on MOA’s but that is because very few have been done. But like their evil cousin, there are no good stories to tell.
The City of Miami entered into an MOA in 2016 and it is the last time the DOJ has done one.
In an article titled, “Miami Police Shortage: A Looking Crisis,” the destruction post MOA was on full display and included an account of rising violence since 2016 and the loss of officers.
That sounds familiar.
That’s because an MOA is the same thing as a consent decree. It’s simply called something else in an effort to trick the community. You don’t have to believe us.
Read the Miami MOA and compare it to consent decrees.
Rather than getting permission from a federal monitor and/or judge to make decisions in the police department, the agency must get approval directly from the DOJ.
Here is just some of the language to show the residents of Phoenix that the Department of Justice will be managing their police department directly:
“Within three months of the entry of this Agreement, MPD agrees to submit any new and revised policies, procedures and manuals, if any, created or revised to achieve compliance with this Agreement to DOJ for review and comment prior to publication and implementation. DOJ shall complete its review within one month. If MPD and DOJ disagree on an aspect of a policy that is relevant to this Agreement, the Independent Reviewer shall resolve the dispute.”
Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing
We hesitate to tell you specifically who is trying to get the DOJ inside the Phoenix Police Department, but we previously outlined some very suspicious behavior. The hiring of Attorney Michael Bromwich to consult the agency should have been the brightest red flag for anyone to see but the one-million-dollar retainer went largely unreported, and no one was the wiser. Bromwich resides in the Washington D.C. area and to say he’s some sort of advocate for the Phoenix Police Department is pure comedy. He’s a former DOJ Inspector General under President Clinton and previously served as Independent Monitor for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department on its own Consent Decree starting back in the early 2000’s.
Make no mistake – Mr. Bromwich is here to help provide a soft landing for a DOJ agreement under the pretense of “guiding city leaders through a difficult process”, but fortunately for Phoenix residents, getting that agreement signed is becoming increasingly difficult for Team DOJ.
Hiring Bromwich to help Phoenix avoid a consent decree is like hiring Lizzo to help you lose weight. The hire makes no sense and the subsequent hire of Phoenix Interim Police Chief Michael Sullivan was equally strange. Hired from the Baltimore Police Department, where he was serving as the Deputy Commissioner in charge of the agency’s consent decree, we have very few other examples of an outside hire at a large police department that was a deputy commissioner or assistant chief – Brian O’Hara comes to mind, and he was explicitly hired to land a Consent Decree in Minneapolis based on his previous DOJ experiences with the disastrous Consent Decree in Newark, New Jersey.
Regarding Sullivan’s hiring, Assistant City Manager Lori Bays said that “he understands what it takes to successfully move through a Department of Justice Investigation…”
While that is suspicious, a recent interview of Interim Chief Sullivan on The Mike Broomhead Show did not put that suspicion to rest and it could have. When asked about the pending consent decree, Sullivan said, “What their investigation is going to show, I suspect, it’s going to be very critical of this department. I’ve told our folks, be prepared for that, but it’s not going to change what we do. We’re going to continue to get better every single day, that’s what I’ve been doing from day one and we’re going to continue doing that.”
When asked about the potential damage a consent decree could do to the city of Phoenix, Sullivan said, “I understand that concern, but I’m going to be focused on the things that I can control, and that’s the things that the Phoenix Police Department does and charting our path forward and continuing to get better every day.”
If you’ve been following our efforts here on explaining exactly what a consent decree will do to Phoenix, the answer by Sullivan could have been very easy.
We suggest something like this:
“I understand consent decrees (after all, that’s why I was hired) and I know how damaging they are for agency morale and budgets. I also know how they create a violent crime epidemic and as the police chief, my job is to ensure a safe environment for the citizens of Phoenix. I do not see how a consent decree will help in that mission and I am committed to providing that safety as well as reforming this agency to enhance community trust.”
Interim Police Chief Sullivan did not say anything close to that and his evasive but rather political response tells us all we need to know.
Watch for the Trojan Horse and who will be riding it…
And if the Phoenix City Council lets that Trojan Horse through the gates of our fine city, we will know who to blame.