May 26, 2016
The Department of Justice announced Thursday that the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will conduct a collaborative review of the Chester Police Department.
At the request of the City of Chester and Chester Police Department, COPS will provide an independent and comprehensive assessment of the city's crime, officer-involved shootings, community policing, training and development and data collection. The office will also provide technical assistance to foster improvement in these areas over an 18-month period.
“I want to commend the Chester Police Department for their willingness to open their agency to intense scrutiny and take an introspective look at the department,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis. “The findings and recommendations that come from such an assessment will enable the department and the community to work together to hold the department accountable to the best standards of the law enforcement profession.”
The request for federal assistance, set in the context of community outrage over a pattern of officer-involved shootings, is geared toward implementing reforms that will build trust and increase the accountability of law enforcement. COPS will conduct its review of policies, practices and tactics using a variety of methods, including interviews, direct observations and the assistance of subject matter experts.
Similar DoJ reviews have been completed in other U.S. cities, including Chicago and Philadelphia, where feds last year identified "serious deficiencies" in the Philadelphia Police Department's use of force policies. COPS continues to provide assistance to Philadelphia to implement its 91 recommendations, from changes in training methods to new rules on public disclosure.