CPC statement on City’s decision to not appeal arbitration decision

For Immediate Release
August 2, 2022

Contact 
Jason Goodrick, Executive Director
216-505-5920
jgoodrick@clecpc.org

Contact 
Jason Goodrick, Executive Director
216-505-5920
jgoodrick@clecpc.org

We stand by Monitor Hassan Aden that officer Mason Swires should remain terminated from the force and the city administration should pursue all avenues possible in ensuring that happens.

Following an investigation, Director Howard found the officer lied to investigators about fleeing the scene of an accident he was involved in with an RTA bus and failed to report the crash to a supervisor.

Officer integrity is essential to Constitutional policing and key to building trust in the community. We support the Monitor’s statement that officers who are found to be dishonest are held accountable.

 

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CPC Statements & News

CPC Analyzes Agreements Between City and Nine Other Police Departments related to the Consent Decree

Assessment finds spotty compliance with agreements and lack of city oversight

For Immediate Release
June 14, 2022

Contact 
Lewis Katz, CPC Commissioner, Co-Chair
216-339-1766
lkatz@clecpc.org

In 2018, City officials amended agreements called Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with nine separate police agencies who have arrest power in Cleveland. The updated documents outlined changes the departments will make to ensure constitutional policing under the Consent Decree is more consistent in Cleveland.

The agreements are all up for renewal by City Council this year. Some of the departments, such as University Circle and Case Western Reserve University, have already requested Council grant them additional authority in the renewals. Today, the Community Police Commission (CPC) Outside Affiliates Work Group released its review of the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) to give the public an understanding of how well these agencies honored their previous commitments.

As the CPC is concerned with issues relevant to the Consent Decree, this assessment focused on three main areas to determine MOU compliance: 1. use of force and vehicle pursuit policy, 2. training and 3. the establishment of a civilian administered complaint board. These were common elements in all nine agreements.

The result of this initial analysis suggests that most of the smaller police departments in Cleveland are in partial compliance with their obligations under their MOUs, with only one of the nine departments in full compliance. One area of significant concern is accountability and the process of receiving and investigating citizen complaints. Although agreed to in 2018, many of the civilian complaint boards were established only after the CPC began requesting MOU information and records in 2020.

“It was clear that CDP gave the nine private police departments authority to police substantial areas of the city, but then failed to check whether the nine police departments had met their responsibilities under the Consent Decree,” says CPC Commissioner and work group chairperson Lewis Katz.

The smaller departments in Cleveland themselves are not directly under the Consent Decree or the new provisions of Charter Amendment 115 that Cleveland voters put into place in November 2021. These smaller police departments are however subject to the authority of the City of Cleveland when it comes to many of their policing powers, and City Council can hold them accountable to the goals and objectives outlined in the MOUs, which bring them in line with the spirit of the Consent Decree. 

The City of Cleveland is the governing body in Cleveland, so it has authority to grant or remove policing powers to many smaller police departments operating in Cleveland within limitations of state law.

The CPC has made several recommendations in its assessment for both the City of Cleveland and the police agencies to consider to better ensure each department’s policies and practices are consistent with their MOUs and city wide guidelines.

The CPC’s full assessment and recommendations can be found on the CPC website at: bit.ly/MOU-Report-2022

CPC Statements & News

CPC Releases Police Surveillance Technology Recommendations

Recommendations outline a model to create a consistent, inclusive process of implementing new technologies in Cleveland

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2022

The Community Police Commission (CPC) Technology Committee today released its Initial Report and Recommendations on Cleveland’s Emerging Police Surveillance Technology.

Committee members, composed of law professors from Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve, representatives from the ACLU and NAACP, Public Defenders and activists, met several times in 2022 to discuss citizens’ concerns about police surveillance technologies. The goal: to determine a recommended course of action to protect privacy and simultaneously improve public safety.

The CPC understands the importance of creating safe neighborhoods and reducing crime and has no position on the technology itself. However, how we select, test and utilize new technologies matters.

“If there are no standards and policies regarding police surveillance and the advancement of tech today, such as facial recognition and use of drones,” says CPC Commissioner and committee chairperson Gordon Friedman, “police tech will take us beyond 1984 and into the Twilight Zone of repression.”

Currently, there is no official decision making process or known police policies regarding the adoption of new surveillance technology in Cleveland.

The CPC’s proposed recommendations are based on that of the City of Oakland, California where, similar to Cleveland, has experienced a complicated relationship between its citizens and its police force. There, the people of Oakland and its police force were able to come together and find a way to manage the adaptation of new technology so that citizens’ privacy rights are protected.

We strongly encourage the City’s leadership to consider the committee’s recommendations which would increase citizen’s trust and confidence in the City of Cleveland and CDP while simultaneously implementing tools to assist in addressing crime.

The CPC’s recommendations can be found on the CPC website at: https://clecpc.org/wp-content/uploads/CPC-Initial-Report-and-Recommendations-on-Clevelands-Emerging-Police-Surveillance-Technology-May-2022.pdf.

CPC Statements & News

CPC Publishes 2021 Annual Report

For Immediate Release:
April 5, 2022

The Community Police Commission (CPC) today released its 2021 Annual Report which can be found on the Commission’s website at clecpc.org/our-work. The report highlights the CPC’s work over the past year and outlines the changes happening soon to the CPC as it transitions to be a permanently established, independent oversight body as a result of a civilian-led initiative, Issue 24, last November.

A special section of the report includes details from the CPC’s research project titled, “100 Years of Police Reform Project.” This comprehensive project looks back through dozens of police reform documents, commissions, studies and reports published in the time period of 1922 – 2022 that show long-term, lasting change to police culture in Cleveland has been short lived and unsustainable. The evidence-based lessons learned through this research will provide a roadmap for the next iteration of this commission to navigate future reform efforts.

Looking to the future, CPC Co-Chair Lewis Katz says, “With the wisdom of the past, a new mayor and potentially new police leadership, hopefully we will see great leaps forward in police reform this year. After all the goals remain the same: effective policing that respects the constitution and achieving greater safety for all residents. The CPC continues to pledge towards the achievement of those goals.”

The CPC’s 2021 Annual Report in a pdf format is available here. Print copies of the report will be mailed to our community partners and stakeholders. Contact us at info@clecpc.org or 216-505-5920 to request a print copy of the report.

CPC Statements & News

Notice Submitting Monitoring Team Use of Force Review

Date Filed: March 28, 2022

The Monitoring Team respectfully submits its Use of Force Review of Cleveland Division of Police (“CDP” or “the Division”) pursuant to paragraph 45 of the Consent Decree.1 The Monitoring Team recently completed an assessment of a sample of use of force cases from 2018 and 2019. These cases were reviewed by the chain of command and closed by June 2020. The attached memorandum summarizes the process and the findings of the Monitoring Team’s (MT) review of this selected sample of use of force cases and reviews. (Exhibit A) The review period commenced in October 2020 and ran through the spring of 2021. The Monitoring Team presented findings in two meetings to the City: one in February 2021 and one in May 2021. Additional reviews will take place in 2022 to assess compliance.

Case Updates & Filings

Notice of Monitoring Team Memorandum to Cleveland Division of Police Regarding Crisis Intervention Team Response Policy

Date Filed: March 2, 2022

“The Monitor respectfully requests that the topic “Crisis Intervention Team Response Policy” be added to the March 17, 2022 Status Conference agenda. The attached Memorandum to the Cleveland Division of Police (“CDP” or “the Division”) and City of Cleveland (“the City”) addresses a recent development regarding the City’s Crisis Intervention Team Response policy. (Exhibit A)

On January 19, 2017, the Monitoring Team moved the Court to approve the three component parts that comprises CDP’s Crisis Intervention policy. The three components were: Crisis Intervention Team Definitions; the Crisis Intervention Team Program; and, Crisis Intervention Response. The Court approved that policy, and the related documents, on March 6, 2017. Recent events prompted communication from the Monitor and the City as detailed in the attached Memorandum. Additionally, the need for the City to provide an update to the Court regarding Crisis Intervention has become apparent to the Monitoring Team.”

Case Updates & Filings

CPC Launches Online Educational Resource About History of Cleveland Police Reforms

February 16, 2022

Last November, Clevelanders prioritized public safety and police reform when they adopted Issue 24 and Elected Mayor Justin Bibb. As Mayor Bibb moves forward with his plans to implement Issue 24 and increase public safety. His office recently released a transition plan addressing, “a need for increased awareness centered around community safety and the role of first responders.”

Today, the Community Police Commission (CPC) launched an educational resource on its website to help achieve this goal. Entitled the “100 Years Project”, our program aims to enhance the dialogue of safety and the role of policing in the future by closely examining the past. The “100 Years Project” is now live on the CPC’s website at clecpc.org/100-years-project and dives deep into the city of Cleveland’s police reform efforts over the past 100 years.

Recommendations for how to make the Cleveland Division of Police more responsive to crime and the needs of community can be found as far back as 1922 when the Cleveland Foundation first studied this issue. The foundation released a groundbreaking report that year calling for major changes to the way police conducted its business and tackled a growing crime problem in Cleveland.

In the decades since, dozens of reports have followed which contained hundreds of recommendations that have gone largely ignored or have brought only short lasting results to the Cleveland Division of Police.

“Moving forward requires us to look back and examine why police reform over 100 years hasn’t been sustainable.” says CPC Commissioner LaToya Logan, who helped champion this project.

Persistent problems with high crime that ran concurrently with biased policing, police brutality, police misconduct, community trust, and officer morale have all been well documented decades before the DOJ investigated the Cleveland Division of Police in 2014 which led to the current Consent Decree.

By looking into Cleveland’s past, the CPC hopes 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. This will help us achieve the Mayor’s goal of a safer Cleveland for everyone.

The project is organized chronologically and by topic in a way that community members can easily access information. It will be continuously updated as research continues. The CPC encourages all interested individuals and organizations to join the CPC in taking a deeper dive into this information. Contact CPC Senior Policy Analyst, Ryan Walker, at rwalker@clecpc.org to get involved.

CPC Statements & News

Consent Decree Status Conference

Date Filed: February 9, 2022

An order for the parties to appear on March 17, 2022 with agenda.

“The court hereby sets a status conference in the within case on March 17, 2022, at 3:00p.m. Council for the parties, and the Monitor, shall be prepared to discuss the following: 

  1. Proposed Consent Decree Amendments related to City of Cleveland Charter § 115 (formerly known as Issue 24). 
  2. The 2022 Monitoring Plan. 
  3. The Monitoring Team’s recent assessment of lateral hiring by the Division of Police
  4. The Monitoring Team’s recent assessments of the City of Cleveland’s investigations of the pursuit resulting in the death of Tamia Chappman. 
  5. Any other matter which the court or the parties wishes to raise. 

The court hereby requires the presence of party representatives with the decision-making authority.” 

Notes about this In-Person Status Conference

This is an in-person status conference that will be held on March 17th at 3:00pm in Courtroom 19A before Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. Council for the parties, and the Monitor. The gallery seating area of the courtroom is open to the public. Spectators will be required to have their temperatures taken on arrival. Masks are required in the courtroom. No virtual or dial-in by phone option has been announced.

Case Updates & Filings

Notice Submitting Monitoring Team Compliance Audit of CDP’s Lateral Hire Background Checks

Date Filed: January 30, 2022

“The Monitoring Team respectfully submits its Compliance Audit of Cleveland Division of Police (“CDP” or “the Division”) Background Checks for Lateral Hires pursuant to paragraphs 308 – 311 of the Consent Decree.

Those provisions of the Consent Decree require the Division to “conduct thorough, objective, and timely pre-employment investigations” regarding all applicant’s prior use of force training, history of using lethal and less than lethal force, and any history of complaints.

This is in addition to the requirement that CDP conduct thorough, objective and timely background investigation investigations to determine candidates’ suitability for law enforcement employment.

The Monitoring Team audited the pre-employment investigation files of a recent class of lateral hires to assess the Division’s compliance with these provisions. The attached Memorandum (“Exhibit A”) describes the methodology and findings of the review.”

Case Updates & Filings

Notice Submitting Cleveland Division of Police Policy on Community & Problem Oriented Policing and Associated Training on Data Collection

Date Filed: December 12, 2021

“The Monitoring Team respectfully submits the recently finalized Cleveland Division of Police (“CDP” or “Division”) Community and Problem Oriented Policing (“CPOP”) General Police Order (Exhibit A), which sets forth the Division’s expectations for its members’ engagement and problem-solving efforts with the community it serves.

Additionally, the Monitoring Team submits the associated Community and Problem Oriented Policing Data Collection Training that guides officers on the purpose and manner of collecting data related to their community engagement problem-oriented policing efforts, and specifically how to complete the CPOP Form (Exhibit B).

Case Updates & Filings