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.
The supervision of officers and the relationship between officers and their management has been a complex issue for some time. The 2015 Consent Decree outlines some necessary changes into how officers are evaluated and ways that supervisors can help officers improve their policing skills. Historically the relationship between officers and supervisors has been an important concern for police reformers. These concerns often dealt with the formation of officer’s unions and the problem of supervisors assigning police officers to non-police work.
The 1945 Survey of policing in Cleveland, found that officers spent a lot of time doing non-policing work, like clerical work and, as is relevant to this day, that they were handling calls that should have been handled by social welfare workers, something that was time consuming and that they were poorly equipped to handle.
Timeline of Key Reports & Recommendations
The timeline below summarizes the recommended reforms related to Supervision 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.
- Expanded social programs for youth, e.g., Scouting, Boys and Girls clubs, etc.; establish a social services bureau (Criminal Justice in Cleveland), (Reorganization Police Department)
- Establish a Women’s Bureau (Criminal Justice in Cleveland)
- Utilization of an internal promotion board based on merit; not civil service testing (Criminal Justice in Cleveland)
- Reduce number of supervisors and return officers to the street (1945 Survey)
- Personnel is greatest asset--use it to its full potential before hiring new officers or getting new equipment; employ non-officers for non-police work (Police Services in the City of Cleveland Ohio)
- Police should have input into policy, but policymakers and citizens have final say (The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society), (Standards of Performance of the Urban Police Function)
- Keep union negotiations to wages, benefits, and pension; do not give up the right to set policies or management rights (Standards of Performance of the Urban Police Function)
- Police have political rights, but should not wear their uniforms when campaigning -- it compromises their objectivity (Standards of Performance of the Urban Police Function)
- Rotate officers to different districts and supervisors on a regular basis (Cleveland Crime Commission)
- Conduct workload studies on a regular basis (National Strategy to Reduce Crime)
- Improve training for at all levels, supervisors will be evaluated by employees; teaching leaders to accept change (Policing in the Nineties)
- Increase managerial flexibility, accountability of command staff (Policing in the Nineties)
- Have civilians do civilian work “civilianize certain tasks” (Policing in the Nineties)
- 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
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 Supervision by analyzing past recommendations concerning police doing non-police work, and unions / labor issues.
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.
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.