As immigrants, criminal justice leaders and Americans who believe in our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all, we applaud the incoming President’s commitment to this important work. Moreover, we believe he should make full use of his authority as President — beginning on day one — to root out racist and failed policies prevalent in our justice system.
While policing may largely be a matter of municipal policy, the President-elect can have the Justice Department use several tools to propel change. The attorney general can tie federal funding and grants for local police departments to the adoption of stronger use-of-force standards, alternative responder models, body-worn camera programs, peer intervention training, databases tracking police misconduct and other best practices. Further, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division should resume the important work of investigating police departments and seek consent decrees — court supervised agreements — addressing patterns of abusive, racist policing.