The Baltimore police department committed to a sweeping overhaul of its practices Thursday under a court-enforceable agreement with the federal government.
The Justice Department agreement , which was approved by the city government and will now be submitted to a judge, mandates changes in the most fundamental aspects of police work. The agreement, known as a consent decree, is the culmination of months of negotiations with the federal government and is meant to correct constitutional violations identified in a report released last year, ABC News reports.
It discourages the arrests of citizens for quality of life offenses, requiring a supervisor to sign off on any request to take someone into custody for a minor infraction, and also mandates basic training for making stops and searches.
In addition, it also commands officers to use de-escalation techniques, thoroughly investigate sexual assault claims and send specially trained units to distress calls involving people with mental illness.
The agreement also lays out policies for transporting prisoners. The consent decree requires officers to ensure that prisoners are protected with seat belts and to check on them periodically to make sure that they're safe.