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DOJ releases special units guide in response to Tyre Nichols’ death

The COPS Office and NPI held meetings with law enforcement leaders and civil rights organizations to aid in the research process


The seal of the Dept of Justice is shown on the podium before Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

By Joanna Putman

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will release a new accountability guide following the death of Tyre Nichols, a news release states.

“Considerations for Specialized Units: A Guide for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Ensure Appropriateness, Effectiveness, and Accountability” is intended to help departments evaluate the need for special units.

The guide was created following meetings with law enforcement leaders, civil rights organizations and other stakeholders led by the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the National Policing Institute (NPI).

“We hope that police chiefs, mayors and community stakeholders will use the guide when considering whether a specialized unit should be formed to focus on a particular problem, and, if formed, how to ensure proper transparency, oversight, accountability, and evaluation of such units,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. The Justice Department is grateful for the engagement of law enforcement and community stakeholders that helped make this vital resource a reality.”

The guide examines the formation of special units at every stage. The DOJ names four stages: formation, personnel selection and supervision, management and accountability and community engagement.

“If law enforcement and the community determine that a law enforcement response is required to address a problem and that standard patrol units are unable to effectively address the concern, this publication offers actionable guidance for defining the specialized unit’s mission and culture, hiring the most suitable personnel and supervisors, developing innovative unit and personnel performance metrics, and establishing policies and practices to mitigate the risks of specialized units,” the release states.

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