Consent Decree Monitor Will Survey Cleveland Residents on Police

Cleveland's police monitoring team talks with city council earlier this year.
Cleveland's police monitoring team talks with city council earlier this year. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
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by Nick Castele

The monitors overseeing Cleveland’s police reform agreement are planning a survey to learn residents’ opinions of law enforcement.

According to a plan approved in court this week, the survey will focus on three broad issues: experiences with Cleveland police, perceptions of the officers, and views of public safety.

ISA, a California-based data collection firm, has been hired to run the survey, according to monitoring team member Christine M. Cole. The first phase of the project, a telephone survey, will cost the city of Cleveland $102,000, Cole said. ISA will also conduct the second phase, involving focus group research, at a cost that Cole estimated at roughly $60,000. 

Survey-takers will call landlines and cell phones from the end of April through May 20. The recipients of those calls will reflect Clevelanders’ diversity of age, gender, race, socioeconomic status and other qualities, the plan says. The monitoring team will report its findings to the court near the end of June.

From August through October, ISA will convene focus groups to collect opinions about police. Cole said at least one of those groups will be bilingual. 

A third phase will survey police officers and gather perspectives from people who have been arrested. Cole said the monitoring teams hasn't definitively settled on a firm to run this phase. That work should wrap up in November,  the plan says, with a final report due Nov. 19.

Public opinion research is one of numerous ways the monitors must gauge Cleveland’s progress in its consent decree with the Justice Department. In two years, the monitors will run the survey again, to see how perceptions of police may or may not have changed.

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