Law \ Legal

Massachusetts Hopes To ‘Wind Down’ First Responder Hiring Consent Decrees 



This week, a federal judge will consider whether to end consent decrees that have been active in Massachusetts for decades, WPNR reports. The state has proposed a “winding down” of decree rules phasing out the decrees by the end of 2024. The consent decrees target the diversity of police and fire departments across the state and place benchmarks and recommendations for hiring. Only seven of more than 100 original towns and cities remain under the decree’s authority; departments were released from the agreement when the percentage of Black and Latino officers or firefighters in their districts reached a “rough parity” with the populations they serve.

In April, the Department of Justice entered into a new consent decree with the City of Springfield, MA following a 2020 investigation that identified a “pattern or practice” of excessive force within the city’s Narcotics Bureau. The Springfield agreement is the first police consent decree initiated under the Biden administration.


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