Search & Seizure Work Group Feedback on 5 GPOs

Submitted: November 14, 2018

The CPC Search and Seizure Work Group reviewed the following policy drafts: “Search and Seizure”, “Investigatory Stops”, “Probable Cause/Warrantless Arrests”, “Miranda Warning and Waiver”, “Strip Searches & Body Cavity Searches”.

Summary of Key Search and Seizure Work Group Findings: 

  • Many of the legal definitions in this policy could be strengthened with edits. In application of law the words chosen are critically important. Language changes make up bulk of the recommended edits to the proposed polices.
  • Some extra-legal concepts in the draft policies caused confusion amongst the work group. The proposed solution was to limit or remove concepts that can cause chaos such as “non-custodial interview”
  • It would greatly benefit the officers who must adhere to the policy if some concepts were simplified to “rules of thumb” or quick reference lists that balance people’s rights and officer’s safety and ability to enforce the law. An example of a concept that this can be applied to is “curtilage”
  • In a few places the policies should be updated based on the Ohio Revised Code, other statutory reference, or most current case law.
  • Some groups such as youth (juveniles) and gender non-confirming individuals deserved additional special mentions, or procedural adjustments in the draft policies.

CPC Draft Policy Recommendations for Response by the City:

  • Review and fully adopt each of the five revised drafts submitted in this report or, in the alternative; review each proposed language change, addition or deletion as a single item and respond per item;
  • Consider combining the Warrantless Arrests Policy with the Miranda Rights Policy.
  • Utilize the higher Ohio Police Officer Training Academy instructor standard of a licensed Ohio attorney (bar card) with experience in the subject to be taught to teach topics 2-1 through 2-7 including laws of Arrest, Search & Seizure at Cleveland’s Basic Police Academy and for any continuing education topics related to these topics.; and
  • Agree to partner with the Police Commission’s Search and Seizure Work Group to conduct a minimum of (1) know your rights/ search and seizure policy presentation at all 5 district policing committee meetings next year and (1) additional special weekend event hosted by the CPC.

Letters of Support for the CPC's Search & Seizure Recommendations

ACLU Ohio

"We write today to express support for the CPC's revisions to the Cleveland Division of Police's Search and Seizure, Investigatory Stops, probable Cause / Warrantless Arrests, Miranda Warning and Waiver, and and Strip Searches and Body Cavity Searches GPOs ("search and seizure policies")." Read the Letter

NAACP Cleveland

"...the Cleveland Branch NAACP would commend the CPC Work Group and recommend that the parties to the Consent Decree adopt their recommendations and recommend to the Federal Court that these recommendations receive appropriate consideration in a timely manner." Read the Letter

Legal Aid Society

"We hear requests for greater police presence and engagement as well as for more accountability for police conduct. Well drafted, thoughtful search and seizure policies that are fully explained to the community and thoroughly implemented would be a significant step towards meeting the needs of low income residents in Cleveland." Read the Letter

University of Alabama School of Law

"I write to express my strong support for the Cleveland Community Police Commission's recommendation that the Division of Police require that legal topics instructors in both Cleveland Basic Police Academy and continuing police education courses be licensed Ohio attorneys who have subject-matter expertise." Read the Letter

Read the full Report & Recommendations: Search and Seizure (5) GPO Feedback (pdf)