Cleveland Mayor Says Police Officers On Board With Reforms
The City of Cleveland has been making changes to the way its police department is organized to meet requirements of a federal consent decree.
Officials have delivered their first six month status report to the court monitor, Judge Solomon Oliver, in a process that will likely take years.
Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports the mayor says the police officers are on board.
The Department of Justice found a pattern and practice of overuse of deadly force by Cleveland police officers and the city is working to retrain them. Mayor Frank Jackson says the officers are looking for clarity in what is expected of them.
“Now they love that because they want to know ‘How do I deal with this situation when I confront it?’ And they may not have been equipped but they’re actually loving the fact that they will have the knowledge to help them get through that situation.”
The city is also expanding its pool of recruits in order to find people who understand the citizens they serve. Jackson says not everyone who comes to work in an urban environment will understand the urban culture.
“And if you don’t understand that you’ll go to a situation where you’ll wind up escalating that and there’ll be an issue. Whereas if you have officers that understand it then what they do is deescalate and there’s no incident whatsoever.”
The mayor calls the consent decree a “relationship document” about the police and the community. What it’s not is a crime fighting document.
On that front, Jackson says the city will take an aggressive approach to reducing crime. But they need to do that in a constitutional and bias-free way.
“And we need to do that in the parameters of what is the proper use of force. Because you are going to use force when you deal with urban policing. It’s just that simple. You can’t avoid it. Because we don’t live in Mayberry.”
Jackson says implementing the consent decree will cost the city $13 million dollars the first year and 8 to 9 million for each of the next two years.