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Search Policy Should Protect Youth, Community Police Commission Says

Cleveland police headquarters in 2017. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Cleveland Police Headquarters name on a wall outside the downtown Justice Center

The Cleveland Community Police Commission is proposing some changes to a draft police search and seizure policy. The commission collects public input on the city’s police reform agreement with the Justice Department.

The policy lays out how—and in what circumstances—police can search people and property for evidence of crimes.

The group says that when officers search young people, they should be mindful that many juveniles may have been through traumatic experiences. The commission says police should speak calmly and slow down the interaction.

“Police come in contact with juveniles increasingly, unfortunately, today,” commission member and civil rights attorney Gordon Friedman said. “And there’s a lot of contact, there’s—to my mind—some misunderstanding between police and juveniles.”

The proposed changes also include protections for transgender people whom police have stopped or arrested.

“These policies really need to allow transgender individuals who are getting booked into the jail, for example, to be able to choose the gender of the officer that they want to search them,” the ACLU of Ohio’s Emma Keeshin said.

A spokesman for the city says Cleveland may finalize its policy in January.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.