Cleveland officials: we need a long-term plan for police oversight


This week marks four years since Cleveland officials sat with a federal judge and U.S. Department of Justice lawyers to sign a settlement agreement, known as a consent decree, committing to make comprehensive reforms to the Cleveland Division of Police.

(The agreement to reform came only after intense negative media attention and a scathing federal investigation—but that's another story.)

Since that May afternoon in 2015, many of the most important policies have been revised: those covering use of force; racial and other types of profiling; discipline, stops, searches, and arrests; and interactions with people in mental health crisis.

But now is when the rubber meets the road; it’s time for these positive policy changes to be implemented and sustained. Officers must receive proper and regular training on the policies, follow them during their shifts, and be held accountable if they violate them.

Have you ever stood up straight when your mother walked into the room, but then slouched again when she left? There won't be a federal judge overseeing Cleveland Police forever. To make sure the reforms stick for the years to come, Cleveland must set up a structure for strong, independent, community oversight of the police department. Urge City Council to hold a hearing and collect input from the public so we can move forward together!

Message Recipients:

  • The full Cleveland City Council Safety Committee:
  • Councilpersons Matt Zone (Chair), Michael Polensek (Vice Chair), Blaine Griffin, Basheer Jones, Joseph Jones, Brian Kazy, Jasmin Santana
  • Director Michael McGrath, Department of Public Safety, City of Cleveland
  • Chief Calvin Williams, Cleveland Division of Police
  • Monitor Mathew Barge, Monitoring Team
Take Action - Cleveland officials: we need a long-term plan for police oversight
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Your Message

I write to urge you to convene a public forum and create a plan for long-term, independent community oversight of the Cleveland Division of Police. There won’t be a federal judge overseeing the Cleveland Division of Police forever. You must now prepare for the end of federal oversight and the beginning of local oversight.

I ask you to schedule a hearing to solicit input from the public, and then make a plan for oversight. Only with fiercely independent community oversight can we ensure that the police reforms happening now will be sustained in the decades to come.


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