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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday continued vowing to press ahead with Chicago Police Department changes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to commit to a federal consent decree that could give such plans more teeth.Sessions spoke to reporters Monday...

Sessions declines to commit to Chicago consent decree, Emanuel responds

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday continued vowing to press ahead with Chicago Police Department changes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to commit to a federal consent decree that could give such plans more teeth.Sessions spoke to reporters Monday...

Sessions declines to commit to Chicago consent decree, Emanuel responds

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday continued vowing to press ahead with Chicago Police Department changes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to commit to a federal consent decree that could give such plans more teeth.

Sessions spoke to reporters Monday in Washington, D.C., and said he had "not made a decision" on whether he would order the Justice Department to continue negotiating a court-enforced federal consent decree. Sessions did say something needs to be done to make Chicago police more proactive.

"I'm really worried about Chicago with the surge in murders," Sessions said. "One of the metrics that has been reported in Chicago shows a dramatic reduction in stops and arrests in Chicago by the Police Department. So they have the same number of officers, but the number of people that are getting arrested for presumably smaller crimes — the broken windows concept that New York believes in so strongly — that has to be a factor in the increase of violence in the city.

"One of the things that has to be done in any settlement is to make sure we advance good policing strategies and not undermine them," he added.

Asked Tuesday about Sessions' comments, Emanuel repeated what he's said since the January completion of the federal investigation into Police Department training and tactics, saying changes will continue with or without a consent decree. "When the Justice Department report came, there were a lot of questions, and I've been very clear we're going to continue to do what's in our self-interest as it relates to training, technology, transparency and leadership, so our police officers have the support, the confidence to do their job.

"Reform and proactive policing go hand in hand with each other," Emanuel added, answering questions at an event to talk about a new city fleet headquarters in Englewood. He declined to respond directly when asked whether he expects a consent decree to be completed.

Emanuel makes first rounds with Trump White House Bill Ruthhart

Mayor Rahm Emanuel held his first round of Washington meetings Monday with senior members of President Donald Trump's administration, a trip his office described as laying the foundation for developing relationships with the Republican White House.

Emanuel met with new Attorney General Jeff Sessions...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel held his first round of Washington meetings Monday with senior members of President Donald Trump's administration, a trip his office described as laying the foundation for developing relationships with the Republican White House.

Emanuel met with new Attorney General Jeff Sessions...

(Bill Ruthhart)

Sessions' comments were not shocking. In the past, he has criticized consent decrees governing police departments, and President Donald Trump has supported aggressive law enforcement as a way to fight crime in Chicago and elsewhere.

Emanuel agreed to enter talks toward a court-enforced agreement with the Justice Department on a number of reforms while President Barack Obama was still in office.

The mayor then met with Sessions in Washington earlier this month. Since then, he and members of his administration have not answered directly when asked whether they expect a consent decree governing the Police Department to be negotiated.

Del Quentin Wilber of the Los Angeles Times contributed.

jebyrne@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_johnbyrne

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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