Police Reform in Cleveland: 100 Years Project

The CPC’s 100 Year Project documents the history of policing and police reform in Cleveland from 1922 to the present. Follow our timeline starting in Cleveland in the 1920s, or see past reform recommendations made by policing topic. This is an ongoing project and we encourage all interested individuals and organizations to join us in expanding on this research.

Policing Topic:

Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment


Working as a police officer in any city is challenging, and it has been especially hard to be one in Cleveland. In the 2015 Consent Decree, there are many mandates that address officer training, recruitment, and wellbeing. These are not new topics of concern. 

There have been many recommendations about officer training, particularly the prospect of using it as a part of, or alongside, continuing post-secondary education. The 1922 Survey on Criminal Justice in Cleveland recommended that the police training academy be treated more like a university. This sentiment was echoed by the 1945 Police Survey, and again, in 1993, by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which recommended that police officers receive some amount of college credit before they start.

In 1973, the  American Bar Association recommended that college graduates be recruited into the ranks. One interesting proposal, from 1967’s Policing in a Free Society, made the role of police officer a three tiered one, with those with more education and experience handling more complex and investigative duties. 

In terms of recruitment, the 1922 Survey emphasized the importance of recruiting moral sound, physically fit recruits; the 1945 Survey recommended recruiting from the ranks of newly returned veterans. After the uprisings in Hough and Glenville, the need to recruit Black Clevelanders into the ranks of police officers was made clear, the 1967 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Unfinished Business), recommended that there be a Black Assistant Safety Director. In the 1980s, the CDP, released an internal recommendation to employ affirmative action to increase the number of Black officers. 

One major area of concern that many police officers have had is uncompetitive pay, as a 2018 Cleveland Police Monitoring Team report noted. Concerns about pay and cost have fluctuated over time, but it is generally understood that having competitive pay reduces officer stress and can improve officer morale.

Timeline of Key Reports & Recommendations

The timeline below summarizes the recommended reforms related to Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment from the reports & documents that reviewed Cleveland police operations and encouraged reform. These are not the exact words from the text, but are summarized by our researchers as best as possible – highlighting key points and phrases.

Summary of Recommendations:
Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment
1920s - 1930s

See all Key Reform Recommendations of the 20s & 30s 1920s - 1930s

Summary of Recommendations:
Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment
1940s - 1950s

  • End police organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police (1945 Survey)
  • Police officers should have a higher education standard for entry (1945 Survey)
  • Utilize more civilians on the department (1945 Survey)

See all Key Reform Recommendations of the 40s & 50s 1940s - 1950s

Summary of Recommendations:
Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment
1960s - 1970s

See all Key Reform Recommendations of the 60s & 70s 1960s - 1970s

Summary of Recommendations:
Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment
1980s - 1990s

See all Key Reform Recommendations of the 80s & 90s 1980s - 1990s

Summary of Recommendations:
Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment
2000s - Present

  • A detailed list of all reform efforts for this time period can be found in the Consent Decree. Read the Consent Decree here or click below to see all documents and recommendations in the 2000’s - present

See all Key Reform Recommendations of the 2000s - Present 2000s - Present

Continuing the Research

The CPC’s research into the documented history of the Cleveland police is ongoing as part of the 100 Years Project. We will be looking further into the topic of Officer Assistance, Support, and Recruitment by analyzing past recommendations concerning recruitment, training, health and wellbeing of officers, pensions and retirement. 

By looking into Cleveland’s past, the CPC aims to help the community gain a better understanding of what policing practices have been successful, what issues exist, and what lessons still need to be learned to move forward in creating a more sustainable policing model for the future. If you are an individual or organization interested in joining us in taking a deeper dive into this information, please contact us to get involved in expanding on this research.

Join the Research

Please contact CPC Senior Policy Analyst, Ryan Walker, at rwalker@clecpc.org to get involved in expanding on this research.

Schedule a Presentation

CPC researchers are available for interviews and custom presentations for schools, groups or organizations interested in this project or its findings.

Questions or Feedback

We welcome your questions & comments about this project. Contact us via the information listed on our contact page or start a conversation on our community forum.

100 Years Project: Explore by Decade or Topic

Read about key reform recommendations made by year, or learn about how each police reform issue area mandated by the 2015 Consent Decree compares to recommendations made in the past.