What is the future of the Ferguson Police Department? - KMOV.com

What is the future of the Ferguson Police Department?

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FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Law enforcement sources speculate the city of Ferguson may not be able to afford the remedies being imposed by the Department of Justice.

The DOJ has the power to impose mandates for reform on the Ferguson Police Department. In its report, the DOJ mandated changes it believes Ferguson must make after finding constitutional violations, and use of the police department and municipal court as revenue streams. Attorney General Eric Holder said the DOJ is prepared to pull out all the stops if necessary.

“We are prepared to use all the power that we have, all the power that we have to ensure the situation changes there,” Holder said. Holder also said the department may be dismantled if the DOJ deems it necessary.

If the city agrees to put the DOJ's changes in place, it would result in a consent decree that some say would be very expensive, especially for a police department as small as Ferguson's.

If Ferguson decides to fight the DOJ's mandates, it would likely file a complaint in federal court, and the US Attorney could file a lawsuit against the city.

Ferguson is the smallest police department the DOJ has ever mandated reform for. Sources have told News 4 the city is trying to prepare itself. It has met with consultants who have experience representing police agencies that have been investigated by the DOJ.

Ferguson could also choose to dissolve its department and contract out policing to St. Louis County, something that Jennings and Dellwood have done.

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said St. Louis County Police may have to meet the conditions of the consent order if they take over policing in Ferguson, resulting in St. Louis County picking up the costs of the mandate.

Fitch said such a possibility could impact any potential St. Louis County takeover of policing in Ferguson.

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