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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is creating a task force to study the policies and practices of its law enforcement bureaus, she announced in a memo issued last week.

The big picture: A watchdog report out last month found that the U.S. Park Police's widespread failure to coordinate with assisting law enforcement led to "confusion" and the unauthorized use of chemical irritants on Black Lives Matter protesters in Lafayette Square last year.

Details: The task force's goal is to "review and identify opportunities for improvement" through an "equity lens," the memo says.

Robert D. MacLean, director of the Interior's Office of Law Enforcement and Security, will lead the task force.

  • MacLean was chief of the Park Police when two officers fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in a Fairfax County neighborhood in 2017. He refused to release the officers' names or any information about the killing for nearly two years, per The Washington Post.

Experts from the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights and the Office of Human Capital will be involved in the review, Haaland noted.

What she's saying: "This task force will focus on ways to (1) strengthen trust in our law enforcement programs; (2) ensure appropriate policy and oversight is implemented; and (3) ensure supportive resources are available for officer mental health, wellness, and safety," Haaland wrote.

  • "I am confident that this Department-wide approach will identify meaningful solutions to assist law enforcement and communities in strengthening trust and collaboration, while ushering the Nation into the next phase of community-focused law enforcement."

Go deeper

Jul 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House's tough-on-crime message: Use COVID funds

Biden delivers a speech on gun violence with Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

With crime surging around the country, the Biden administration is telling local officials how to use some of the $1.9 trillion in COVID relief funds to bolster their police departments.

Driving the news: That guidance is spelled out in a White House memo obtained by Axios ahead of President Biden's meeting today with law enforcement and elected officials from around the country — including Eric Adams, New York City's Democratic mayoral nominee and former police captain, who's openly critical of his own party.

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.

How extreme weather feeds inflation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This summer's extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.