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Cleveland Targeting 2022 For Completion Of Consent Decree Reforms

Cleveland expects two more years of federal oversight for its police department before being freed from what was meant to be a five-year consent decree.

The city’s consent decree coordinator, retired judge Greg White, told city council’s safety committee Monday the city is not yet in compliance with the reforms included in its 2015 agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

But the city has turned a corner, he said.

“We can fairly say that the heavy lifting has all but been completed – with all the policies, all the manuals, all the other things that I described throughout my time here have been virtually completed,” White said.

The Cleveland Division of Police has already put in place a series of new policies on bias-free policing, officer discipline and training. But the city still has to show it is following the reforms spelled out in the decree.

U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver controls when Cleveland can be released from the consent decree. A monitoring team, paid for by the city, was established to oversee reforms and report to the judge on whether the terms of the agreement are being met.

White said the next phase will include data collection on police stops and community policing and testing new accountability measures, like the overhauled Office of Professional Standards.

“So we are at a turning point, at a critical one for the city,” White said, adding that some of the work on community policing and citizen complaints has been stalled because of the coronavirus, as has the most recent progress report from the monitor.

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