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Clevelanders Discuss Ideas for Community Policing Policy

Shallanna Agbomanyi and Teirra Everette discuss community policing [Annie Wu / ideastream]

Some 100 people gathered at Tri-C last night to discuss their vision for community policing in Cleveland.  Their input will help shape policy as part of the city’s police reform efforts with the US Justice Department.  

Attendees were asked to come up with innovative solutions to community problems.  One group suggested police drop-in spaces in schools and churches.  They also suggested reviving midnight basketball to give kids something to do.

Moderators also asked about police recruitment.  Some recommended bonuses, rewards for good work, and salaries tied to higher education degrees.

Teirra Everette, an attorney who works in Cleveland, suggested trying to attract people to the profession from as young as kindergarten. 

“You know, we look at pipeline programs for so many different careers,” said Everette.  “If you want to do pipeline training, it starts as early as preschool and kindergarten. We need to have a preschool to police officer pipeline.  We need to look at those more positive opportunities.”

Sitting next to Everette, Shallanna Agbomanyi who works with the Peacemakers Alliance said she remembered a time when her brothers wanted to be on the police force.  She suggested a rebranding effort.

“If you can make Mr. Clean sexy, ok, you can do this.  We can make this idea, it’s doable,” said Agbomanyi.  “We gotta rebrand what it means to be an officer.”

And on the issue of police evaluations, one group recommended a 24-hour call-in comment line, pointing out that many Clevelanders don’t have internet access to make online comments.

A draft community policing plan should be completed in mid-August. 

Click here for more information on the next community policing roundtable.

Annie Wu is the deputy editor of digital content for Ideastream Public Media.