City’s First Police Reform Deadline a Step Toward Greater Community Engagement

The Consent Decree approved by a judge June 12th started the clock ticking on a series of deadlines the city must meet to implement police reform. Photo by Joanna Richards
The Consent Decree approved by a judge June 12th started the clock ticking on a series of deadlines the city must meet to implement police reform. Photo by Joanna Richards
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By Joanna Richards

The clock is ticking on the first deadline the city of Cleveland must meet to comply with its agreement with the U.S. Justice Department on police reform. It’s the beginning of a process to improve community engagement with the police.

Ultimately, a Community Police Commission will serve as a liaison between the community, the city and the police department, reviewing police practices and recommending changes.

That commission will be chosen by a selection panel – which the mayor has to appoint by July 12th with input from City Council and the Justice Department.

Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Ohio, said this complicated process is meant to bolster the commission’s independence.

“The idea is to build in as many safeguards as possible to make sure that there is an independent selection panel to pick the Community Police Commission,” he said.

A spokesman said the office has collected 110 names of potential candidates for the selection panel, after a public outreach effort.

Dettlebach said the response has been a sign of the community’s outpouring of interest in city police reform.

“The people from Washington who were part of this process, and who’ve seen things happen in other cities, shared very openly that they think that the Cleveland process has really had an incredibly high amount of community participation in it compared to other places,” he said.

Mayor Frank Jackson’s office is tight-lipped about how it’s going about vetting potential selection panel members. City Council President Kevin Kelley said the council hasn’t gotten involved yet.

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