Meet the Commissioners
The all volunteer Commission consists of civilian and police association volunteers that work to provide community input on needed policing reforms from the many diverse communities in Cleveland.
LaToya is the Chief Executive Officer of Project LIFT Behavioral Health Services and Consulting, which focuses on advocacy, training, and support services reducing disparities impacting the outcomes of transitional age Black males and fathers who are court-involved or have mental health needs. She serves as the Region Director for the National Association of Social Workers – Ohio Chapter. She is a returning commissioner and former co-chair.
Mr. Friedman is an activist criminal defense attorney who has worked as a civil rights lawyer for over 40 years after starting out in the Public Defender’s Office of the Legal Aid Society. Mr. Friedman was an Associate Professor of Law at Cleveland Marshall Law School teaching criminal procedure and working with the criminal law legal clinic. He presently teaches as an Adjunct professor at the Marshall Law School. He was the founding Director of the Cleveland Free Clinic in 1970. Mr. Friedman is a returning member of the Commission.
Rev. Frederick Knuckles
Rev. Frederick Knuckles has lived or worked in the City of Cleveland for over 50 years. He has been a pastor of the New Fellowship Church for 30 years and serves a moderator for the Progressive Baptist Association. Mr. Knuckles currently serves as Program Manager of the “Building Strong Families for University Settlement” in the Slavic Village Community and is an advocate for the homeless community.
Dr. Stephanie Hinnershitz
Dr. Hinnershitz is a Cleveland resident and is employed as an Assistant Professor at Cleveland State University where she teaches twentieth century American History with a specialization in civil rights and prison labor. Ms. Hinnershitz also serves as the Director of the Center for Refugee and Immigrant Success at Cleveland State and is active with the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association and with Building Hope in the City, a faith based organization that provides outreach on issues such as poverty, crime, and community engagement.
Dr. Megan Testa
Dr. Testa is a medical doctor employed by University Hospitals Psychiatry Department who specializes in Adult Psychiatry with sub-specializations in Community Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry (Board Certified). Dr. Testa also works with the Cleveland based mental health agencies Frontline Services and Recovery Resources and the Cleveland Municipal Court Psychiatric Clinic. Dr. Testa currently serves as President Elect and Government relations Chair for the Ohio Psychiatric Physician’s Association and is an Assistant Professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
Mr. Katz is the John C. Hutchens Professor Emeritus of Law and presently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law. Mr. Katz has spent 53 years teaching criminal law and criminal procedure with a scholarship interest in 4th Amendment and civil rights law. Mr. Katz is a former consultant with the Ohio Sentencing Commission and with the New York and Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Commissions. Mr. Katz is the author of “Ohio Arrest Search and Seizure”, which is used in law schools and has had 27 editions issued, the most recent being in 2019.
Mr. Ngemba is employed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as a Bilingual Instructional Aid. Mr. Ngemba is originally from the Republic of the Congo and has lived in Cleveland for eight (8) years. Among a variety of civic and community groups, Mr. Ngemba presently serves as the President of the Congolese Youths of Greater Cleveland. He is the founder of and works with the local Cleveland based groups “Advocates for Peace and Change” and the co-founder of “Ambassadors for African Youth”. Much of his work and focus is on empowering local youth.
Ms. Hadley is employed as the Business Community Liaison for the Cleveland Job Corps. She sits on a variety of boards and collaboratives, to include the United Way of Greater Cleveland, the National Congress of Black Women, the Rotary Club of Greater Cleveland, and the Collinwood Neighborhood Community Development Corporation. Ms. Hadley has worked closely with the Fifth Police District and has over 20 years of experience as an advocate working with young adults who have dropped out of school.
Dr. Terry Echols
Dr. Echols is a Cleveland resident and is employed as the Assistant Director of Adult Education Services at the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Dr. Echols is a Doctor of Adult Education and Higher Learning (E.D.) and has spent his career in social services and higher education. He has past service as the Chairman of the Stark County Urban League and as the committee chair for youth education for the NAACP of Stark County. Dr. Echols has an extensive background in multicultural affairs and literacy enhancement, with a focus on working to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.
Ms. Marion is a Cleveland resident and is employed as a Senior Social Worker and Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where she works with the Comprehensive Homeless Center. She has worked with individuals having substance abuse disorders and/or mental illness. Ms. Marion has served on both the local and national board of the National Association of Social Workers and serves on the Advisory Board of Ursuline College.
Sgt. Richard Jackson
Commissioner, Black Shield
Sgt. Jackson is a returning member of the Commission. He is a 30-year member of the Cleveland Division of Police. He has nearly 20 years of experience in police supervision. Additionally, he has extensive advanced organizational leadership training from organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Moreover, Sgt. Jackson has advanced OPOTA certifications in Death Investigations, Crime Scenes, Crime Scene Management, Crime Scene Photography, and Organizational Budgeting. Sgt. Jackson also has extensive FEMA training in Emergency Management and Ohio Homeland Security as an Intelligence Liaison Officer. Lastly, Sgt. Jackson is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
Lt. (Ret.) Gail Maxwell
Commissioner, Fraternal Order of Police
Lt. Maxwell is a returning member of the Commission. Lt. Maxwell retired from the Cleveland Division of Police in April 2007. She was the Officer in Charge of the Sixth District Detective Bureau, which served Cleveland’s Collinwood and Glenville Neighborhoods. Lt. Maxwell resides in Cleveland’s Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood. Lt. Maxwell is an active retired member of the FOP and has served as the FOP’s Election Committee Chairperson for over eleven (11) years. Lt. Maxwell is a proud citizen of Cleveland and her re-appointment to the Commission reflects her continuing wish to be part of the City’s progress moving forward.
Det. Jeff Follmer
Commissioner, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association
Work with the Commission
Community input is crucial to ensuring the Commission’s work reflects the values and priorities of Cleveland residents. Commissioners lead work groups to discuss issues outlined in the Consent Decree and prepare reports and recommendations on ways to improve police policies and practices. Work groups generally meet twice a month. New members are always welcome!
More Ways to Get Involved
Feedback from all Cleveland communities on how to improve policing policies will help ensure positive, long-term reform. Ensure your voices are heard during the reform process by participating in a CPC meeting, attending your local police district meetings, and other events in the community to share your thoughts about policing and related issues in your community.