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Community Town Hall Held to Reform Policing in Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--Just about a month after a blistering Department of Justice report about troubling practices in the Baltimore Police Department, residents are being asked for input to enact change in the department.

DOJ officials were back in Baltimore asking the public for feedback on a consent decree. Once finalized, it will be a set of guidelines Baltimore Police will have to follow.

The meeting comes after a scathing DOJ report which revealed the department routinely discriminated against African Americans.

"The police needs the community and the community needs the police. And so, hopefully this will open up the dialogue so that when the final agreement is made, it will have the input of the community," said Congressman Elijah Cummings.

"We really have an opportunity for change and so I would implore people one last time to come together and to use their voice," said Sherrilyn Ifill, with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

But even as the DOJ reassured citizens their voices will be heard there were skeptics.

"We shouldn't consent to anything, because why should we trust them to do something that decades that they been failing us," said Tawanda Jones.

Inside the University of Maryland Law School, dozens of people lined up to express their opinion on the direction they want to see the police department take. The Department of Justice stressed that public input will be part of the final consent decree.


Shortly after the stinging DOJ report, Commissioner Kevin Davis announced the department will work with the community to make a change.

"We will be better, we will prove it to the world to this city that it can and will be done in Baltimore and Baltimore will be the model for this nation,"said Davis.

The consent decree has to be finalized by November 1, 2016, but it's not clear when the department will start following the guidelines.

If you missed today's town hall at the University of Maryland Law School you can email your suggestions to the Department of Justice: Community.Baltimore@usdoj.Gov.

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