Federal Consent Decree Monitor Maps out Cleveland Police Reforms

Monitor Matthew Barge outside Stokes Federal Courthouse in Cleveland
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The people trying to figure out how to reform Cleveland’s police department told a federal judge today (THURS)  that the process is going well.  

Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports that the disparate groups working to implement a federal consent decree say they have a “productive partnership.”



There is bound to be friction when the Department of Justice declares that the police department engaged in an unnecessary use of deadly force.  The local NAACP is calling for the head of patrolman’s union to be removed from the Community Police Commission, and the union filed suit against the city because the Highway Patrol is training cadets.   

But overall they were able to collaborate to produce the first year timeline for implementing a range of new policies.

Consent decree monitor Mathew Barge’s organization, Police Assessment Resource Center, has worked with police department reform in other cities and is working with local police and civilian leaders in Cleveland to make improvements.

"Cleveland is in a position to benefit from the best practices around the country and have it modified here.  Despite the differences I think there is things to learn from from other places.  One thing though that this process from the get-go is very encouraging, so you heard today in court, everyone is pedaling in the same direction.”  

Barge says their schedule this year calls for a new mission statement on community-oriented policing by May, a study on equipment by June, and by this time next year, all officers will have been retrained on a new for use of force policy.   

Next year they’ll take on other issues, including how the department deals with officer misconduct..

“How the department ultimately reviews those cases, search and seizure -  things related to stops of vehicles and people, a lot of things related to data problematic performance trends among officers.”

Barge will submit his final document for the judge’s approval on Monday,. 

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