On December 12, 2008, the Special Litigation Section of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) initiated an investigation of the City of Harvey, Illinois Police Department (HPD), pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141.
On January 18, 2012, the DOJ issued their findings. Though the DOJ did not find there to be a pattern or practice of constitutional or federal law violations, they did conclude that there were serious deficiencies in the operation of the HPD to create an unreasonable risk that constitutional violations will occur. Specifically, the DOJ noted a failure to provide sufficient descriptions of the nature of resistance encountered, often employing one-word descriptions. This made it practically impossible to know whether officers were using the appropriate amount of force. Such descriptions were casually reviewed by supervisors and rubber-stamped. Accordingly, the DOJ made recommendations for remedial measures concerning reporting, reviewing, and investigating use of force. They recommended reworking HPD's policies for the use of force, requiring watch commanders to respond to the scene of any incidents, implementing an early invention system, modifying internal affairs investigations, and revising the process of handling citizen complaints against officers.
The DOJ investigation was closed following these recommendations and has not been reopened.Richard Jolly - 11/26/2014