The Cleveland Police Monitoring Team oversees the implementation of a Consent Decree between the City of Cleveland and United States requiring the Cleveland Division of Police to enact a number of specific reforms.

Following an investigation in 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice found that there was reasonable cause to believe that there was a pattern and practice of excessive force in Cleveland that violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law.  The City of Cleveland and DOJ entered into an agreement that requires the Cleveland Division of Police (the "Division" or "CPD") to make a number of fundamental changes to its policies, practices, procedures, training, use of data, and more.

Chief Judge of the Northern District of Ohio Solomon Oliver, Jr. oversees and enforces the Cleveland Consent Decree to ensure that the City of Cleveland and CPD do what they must under the Decree.  Hassan Aden, former Chief of Police of the Greenville (NC) Police Department and Director of Research and Programs of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), serves as the Monitor. As such, he acts as Judge Oliver’s agent to oversee the implementation of the Decree.  Mr. Aden's team includes experts with backgrounds in law enforcement, psychology, social science, law, organizational change, technology, data, and measurement.  This is the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team's official website. 

The Monitoring Team is committed to ensuring that reform under the Consent Decree is conducted in the open, giving community members,  CPD officers, and stakeholders from across Cleveland a voice and a seat at the table.

Police reform under the Consent Decree is geared toward ensuring that law enforcement in Cleveland is consistent with the values of Cleveland and recognizes the countless, diverse communities that make up the broader fabric of Cleveland.  The Monitoring Team, Community Police Commission, and Division of Police will all be doing separate outreach into communities from across Cleveland to ensure that all community members have a seat at the table and that all voices are heard.

The Constitution requires the Division of Police to prevent excessive force, to ensure that searches and seizures are reasonable, and to ensure that police services are delivered free from bias. 

To further these goals, the City has agreed to provide clear guidance to officers; increase accountability; provide for civilian participation in and oversight of the police; provide officers with needed support, training, and equipment; and increase transparency. 

In its December 2014 findings report on the investigation of CDP, the Department of Justice found that there was "reasonable cause to believe that CDP engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment," which included:

  • The unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons;
  • The unnecessary, excessive or retaliatory use of less lethal force including tasers, chemical spray and fists; 
  • Excessive force against persons who are mentally ill or in crisis, including in cases where the officers were called exclusively for a welfare check; and
  • The employment of poor and dangerous tactics that place officers in situations where avoidable force becomes inevitable and places officers and civilians at unnecessary risk.

The City and CDP did not agree with these findings.  Nonetheless, they agreed to enter into a settlement with the DOJ to implement reforms geared toward addressing these and many other core constitutional issues.

During the implementation of the Consent Decree, a number of policy, procedure, and practice reforms will occur within the CDP.  These changes will not be implemented overnight.  However, in the coming months and years, the Cleveland community can expect to see, among many other reforms, the following:

changes to use of force policies & procedures

New use of force policies will be geared toward providing officers with clearer and more precise "rules of the road" for using force. They will also implement rigorous new methods for the Department to respond to, record, investigate, and review uses of force – so that problematic incidents can be addressed fairly and transparently and so that even minimally problematic incidents can be the source of continuing learning and innovation within the Division of Police.

enhanced, new officer training

Officers will receive substantial training on use of force, searches and seizures of individuals, crisis intervention, and numerous other issues.  The training will be consistent with national best practices in law enforcement and in adult education.  Training will be scenario-based, with interactive elements that allow officers to practice real-world skills in a training environment in the midst of learning new concepts and understanding new expectations under the Division's revamped policies.  Academy training of new recruits and field training for newly minted officers will comply with best practices.

changes to internal investigations

The Decree requires a new, non-sworn, and civilian head of CPD's Internal Affairs (IA) Division, which conducts the Division's investigations of use of force, other critical incidents, and other allegations of misconduct generated by Division personnel.  A dedicated and specially-trained Force Investigations Team, or FIT Team, will soon investigate significant uses of force.

increased focus on new ways of addressing individuals experiencing mental health, substance abuse, and other behavioral crises

A number of incidents that ultimately require the use of force involve individuals experiencing mental health, substance abuse, or other behavioral issues.  The Decree requires substantial focus on policies, procedures, and training for officers on individuals experiencing such behavioral crises.  A Mental Health Advisory Committee, consisting of the Division and a broad network of social service providers, mental health practitioners, and addiction specialists, will meet regularly to provide guidance to assist the Division in improving its response to individuals experiencing a crisis.

new policies and reporting requirements on stops and searches of civilians

The Decree requires more robust reporting and supervision of the stops and searches of civilians.  Police officers will receive additional training on the Fourth Amendment, bias-free policing, procedural justice issues, and concepts related to implicit bias.

reform of the complaint investigation & officer discipline systems

The process and standards for investigations of civilian complaints by the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) will be updated and made more rigorous.  Discipline imposed for officer performance failing to meet Division standards will be consistent, fair, and supported by evidence.

reforms to accountability & oversight mehcanisms

A new Inspector General will monitor, audit, and report on the systemic, Division-wide performance of officers.  The Division will have new, dedicated personnel focusing on ensuring that it is a data-driven organization where management, supervision, and deployment decisions are made on the best data and objective evidence.

Photo credit: Tony Dejak/AP

The Consent Decree requires that policing in Cleveland be effective – keeping its communities and officers safe.

The Decree notes that "Constitutional policing and effective policing are interdependent, and rely on a strong partnership between the police department and the communities that it serves." An enhanced relationship grounded in mutual respect and trust between CDP and Cleveland's diverse communities will enhance the ability of the community and the Division to work together to keep Cleveland safe.

A number of the Decree's specific provisions are geared toward ensuring the safety of officers and community members alike, as well as a stronger relationship between police and community that can result in an enduring, effective partnership to address core law enforcement and community needs.

creation & implementation of a community and problem-oriented policing model

The Decree requires that CPD develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated community and problem-oriented policing model in order to promote and strengthen partnerships within the community, engage constructively with the community to ensure collaborative problem-solving, and increase community confidence in CPD.

updated equipment & enhanced officer resources

With the goal of ensuring that CPD is provided with the resources, equipment, and updated technology necessary to implement the requirements of the Consent Decree and to allow officers to perform their jobs safely, effectively, and efficiently, the City and CPD will be working to ensure that the Division has an adequate number of computers; operable and safe police cars; police cars with reliable, functioning computers that provide officers with up-to-date technology; and e-mail functionality that can be used throughout the Division.

reforms to recruitment & hiring processes

To maintain high-level, quality service, ensure officer safety and accountability, and promote constitutional, effective policing, CDP will review and revise as necessary its recruitment and hiring program to ensure that CDP successfully attracts and hires a diverse group of qualified individuals. 

changes to process for performance evaluations & promotions

CDP will ensure that officers who police professionally and effectively are recognized through the performance evaluation process, and that officers who lead professionally and effectively are identified and receive appropriate consideration for promotion. 

adjustments to officer deployment

Under the Decree, CDP must complete a comprehensive staffing study to assess the appropriate number of sworn and civilian personnel to perform the functions necessary for CDP to fulfill its mission, and satisfy the other requirements of the Decree.

The Division of Police, Community Police Commission, and Monitoring Team will be engaged in sustained and intensive community engagement throughout the reform process – all aimed at ensuring that all voices are heard as a new, shared vision of policing in Cleveland is established.

The Consent Decree requires a sustained focus on ensuring that law enforcement in Cleveland embraces a community and problem-oriented policing model. Among other things, this includes: 


The Decree created the Cleveland Community Police Commission (CCPC) to serve as a primary conduit between the Cleveland community and the process of reform.  It is responsible for making recommendations to the Division with respect to policies and procedures; working with the community to develop recommendations on police practices that reflect the values and priorities of the Cleveland community; and reporting to the community in order to provide transparency in the process of police reform.


The District Policing Committees, formerly called District Community Relations Committees, were created by the Decree to facilitate regular communication and cooperation between CPD and community leaders at the local, District, and neighborhood-based level.

development of a new mission statement

CPD will ensure that its mission statement reflects its commitment to community oriented policing and will integrate community and problem-oriented policing principles into its management, policies and procedures, recruitment, training, personnel evaluations, resource deployment, tactics, and accountability systems.

creation of new bias-free policing policies

CPD will deliver police services with the goal of ensuring that they are equitable, respectful, and free of unlawful bias, in a manner that promotes broad community engagement and confidence in CPD. CPD expects all officers to treat all members of the Cleveland community with courtesy, professionalism, and respect, and not to use harassing, intimidating, or derogatory language. CPD must integrate bias-free policing principles into its management, policies and procedures, job descriptions, recruitment, training, personnel evaluations, resource deployment, tactics, and accountability systems. 

reforms to the police review board

The Police Review Board (PRB), which recommends adjudications for investigations of civilian complaints, will be appointed in a transparent manner and be representative of the diverse communities within Cleveland.