The Consent Decree
Following an investigation in 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) engaged in practices that violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law. The DOJ determined that there was a pattern of excessive force and that operational and structural issues within the CDP contribute to this practice. Read the DOJ’s report here.
The City of Cleveland and DOJ entered into a Consent Decree, or Settlement Agreement, which requires the Cleveland Division of Police to make a number of fundamental changes to its policies, practices and procedures to address these issues. A federal judge oversees and enforces the Consent Decree to ensure that the City of Cleveland and CDP complies with the changes outlined in the document.
US v. Cleveland – Consent Decree – May 26, 2015
The United States of America and the City of Cleveland are committed to ensuring that police services in Cleveland are delivered in a manner that is constitutional, effective, and consistent with community values, while preserving officer and public safety.
To further these goals, the Cleveland Division of Police (“CDP”) and the Cleveland community must have a strong relationship that is built on mutual trust and respect. The provisions of this Agreement are designed to bolster this relationship and ensure that it endures.
Role of the CPC & the Cleveland Community
The Community Police Commission (CPC) was mandated under the Consent Decree to provide input on recommendations for police practices that reflect the values and priorities of the many diverse communities that make up Cleveland. Ongoing community input into the way police services are delivered is crucial to strengthening police-community relationships that is necessary to promote public safety.
We encourage the community to take an active role in the reform process with the CPC to develop policy recommendations that better reflect your values and expectations.
Sections Covered in the Consent Decree
Below are highlighted sections covered in the Consent Decree. This is not a complete list of all sections covered, but will provide a general overview of the content of the document.
- Police Review Board (PRB)
In consultation with the Commission, the Mayor will work with the City Council to develop an ordinance to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot that would ensure that the members of the PRB are appointed in a transparent manner, are representative of the diverse communities within Cleveland, and allow the chair and vice chair of PRB, to each serve for a term of one year, to be selected from among the members by majority vote of PRB's membership. PRB members will not be current or former members of the CDP.
CDP will ensure that discipline for sustained allegations of misconduct comports with due process, and is consistently applied, fair and based on the nature of the allegation, and that mitigating and aggravating factors are identified and consistently applied and documented.
- Disciplinary Hearings
The Chief of CDP will issue a General Police Order that requires officer to: a.) Cooperate with the Internal Affairs and OPS investigators; and b.) Submit all relevant evidence to the investigators such that it is available for consideration by Internal Affairs or PRB.
- Internally Discovered Misconduct
Internal Affairs will conduct objective, comprehensive and timely investigations of all internal allegations of officer misconduct.
- Reporting Misconduct and Preventing Retaliation
CDP will require any CDP employee who observes or becomes awre of any act of misconduct by another employee to report the incident to a supervisor or directly to Internal Affairs.
- Investigation of Civilian Complaints
- Classification of Civilian Complaints - Communication with the Complainant - Investigation of Civilian Complaints - The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) - Filing and Tracking of Civilian Complaints
- Crisis Intervention Training CDP will provide training on responding to individuals in crisis to all of its officers and recruits.
- Specialized Crisis Intervention Trained Officers CDP will provide enhanced specialized training in responding to individuals in crisis to certain officers ("specialized CIT officers"). Specialized CIT officers will continue to be assigned to the patrol division and will maintain their standard patrol duties, except when called upon to respond to incidents or calls involving individuals in crisis.
- Crisis Intervention Policies and Procedures The Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence currently is conducting a peer review of the crisis intervention program in Cuyahoga County. The results of the peer review assessment will be provided to the Advisory Committee, DOJ and the Monitor. In developing its policies and procedures and the plan required by paragraph 152, the City will consider this assessment and any recommendations contained within it.
- Crisis Intervention Coordinator An officer at the rank of captain of above - acts as a Crisis Intervention Coordinator to between facilitate communication between CDP and members of the mental health community and to increase the effectiveness of CDP's Crisis Intervention Program.
- Mental Health Response Advisory Committee Developed to foster relationships and build support between the police, the community and mental health providers and to help identify problems and develop solutions designed to improve outcomes for individuals in crisis.
The force policies, training, supervision, and accountability systems will be designed with the goal of:
- ensuring that officers use techniques other than force to effect compliance with police orders whenever feasible
- use force only when necessary, and in a manner that avoids unnecessary injury to officers and civilians
- deescalate the use of force at the earliest possible moment
- accurately and completely report all uses of force
To maintain high-level, quality service, ensure office safety and accountability and promote constitutional, effective policing, CDP will review and revise as necessary its recruitment and hiring program to ensure that CDP successfully attracts and hires a diverse group of qualified individuals.
CDP will ensure that all officers receive adequate training to understand:
a.) how to police effectively and safely in accordance with CDP policy
b.) the requirements of this Agreement, Ohio law, and the Constitution and laws of the United States.
CDP training will reflect CDP's commitment to procedural justice, bias-free policing and community policing, and will instill agency expectations that officers police diligently and have an understanding of a commitment to the constitutional rights of the individuals they encounter.
Performance Evaluations and Promotions
CDP will ensure that officers who police professionally and effectively are recognized through the performance evaluation process, and that officers who lead professionally and effectively are identified and receive appropriate consideration for promotion.
CDP will further ensure that poor performance or policing that otherwise undermines public safety and community trust is reflected in officer evaluations so that CDP can identify and effectively respond.
Recruitment and Resources
With the goal of ensuring that CDP is provided with the resources, equipment and updated technology necessary to implement the terms of this Agreement and to allow officers to perform their jobs safely, effectively and efficiently.