The U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday that it has made progress with officials from Ferguson, Missouri, on a deal to overhaul the town's police department following the 2014 fatal shooting of unarmed black man Michael Brown.

Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said that while the department could not comment on the content of negotiations, "the talks with the City of Ferguson to develop a monitored consent decree have been productive."

Iverson added that "an agreement needs to be reached without delay."

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, he told the New York Times that the two sides are "very close" to a deal, and that "small sticking points" remained.

Citing officials, the newspaper said the agreement, which would be filed in federal court, would require new training for police officers and improved record keeping, along with a federal monitor.

The Justice Department issued a scathing report earlier this year that documented discriminatory actions by Ferguson police and the small community's municipal court system.

Ferguson, a mostly black suburb of St. Louis, received national attention after sometimes violent protests following Brown's shooting by a white police officer in August 2014. The officer was not charged.

Brown's death was one of a series of highly publicized killings of black men mostly by white police officers that have set off a national debate about the proper use of police force, especially against minorities. The Justice Department is also investigating the police departments of Baltimore and Chicago.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards in Washington, D.C. and Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)