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Report on Cleveland's Consent Decree Shows Progress on Use of Force, Issues with Investigations

Cleveland's consent decree monitoring team briefing City Council on the latest progress report.

The second semi-annual report on Cleveland’s police reform effort shows both progress and difficult challenges ahead. Consent Decree Monitor Matthew Barge briefed City Council today on the latest findings. 

On the positive side, Barge says strong improvements have been made in police policies regarding use of force and how officers respond to residents with mental health issues. But he says much more needs to be done to fix the city’s Office of Professional Standards, which resolves citizen complaints against officers.

He says there are no written procedures, and there is a backlog of more than 400 cases, some dating back to 2014.

“In the short-term, a successful OPS is one that starts to more timely address new complaints and starts to work its way through the backlog, where there are guidelines about, 'How do we treat this 3-year-old case and do we communicate to officers and constituents about what the resolution has been?'”

Barge says in the long-term, the office will need more investigators.  He lists outdated police equipment as another area that needs to be addressed. Cleveland and the Justice Department agreed to revamp the department in 2015.