Monitoring Team Recommends Approval of Bias-Free Policing Policy

As required by Paragraphs 35 through 44 of the Consent Decree, the City of Cleveland, on behalf of the Cleveland Division of Police, submitted a proposed Bias-Free Policing Policy (General Police Order 1.07.08) to the Monitor.

After carefully reviewing the Policy, the Monitoring Team determined that it provides sufficiently clear guidelines around, among other things: (1) the Division’s expectations for its members around bias-free policing; (2) the principles of procedural justice in police-civilian interactions; and (3) protocols to report bias-based policing.  Further, it advances equitable and bias-free policing principles that will support both the Division and the communities that the Division serves.

Consistent with the Decree's requirements, the Cleveland Community Police Commission ("CPC") was substantially involved in the development of the Bias-Free Policing Policy. The CPC’s efforts to gather feedback from a broad spectrum of the Cleveland community were considerable, with 14 total town hall meetings held across the city. This process of community involvement reflects the kind of upfront, democratic engagement of the community on substantive policing policies that the Consent Decree envisions—where policies and expectations for officers are actively discussed across Cleveland’s communities before and as they are formulated.

While the Monitoring Team recommends approval of CDP's new policy, it understands that no one policy or piece of paper can, by itself, address concerns, experiences, or histories involving inequity, discrimination, bias, or disparate treatment.  The Division is not considering this policy to be a “magic pill.”  Instead, the Proposed Policy exists as one building block that sets forth clear expectations about CDP’s values and rules of conduct.

Read more about the Bias-Free Policing Policy here.

Monitoring Team Recommends Approval of Revised Disciplinary Matrix

As required by Paragraphs 245 through 249 of the Consent Decree, the City of Cleveland, on behalf of the Cleveland Division of Police, submitted a proposed revised Disciplinary Matrix to the Monitor. 

Reviewing the proposed Disciplinary Matrix, the Monitoring Team determined that it provides sufficiently clear guidelines around, among other things, (1) the types of CDP misconduct violations that are subject to discipline; (2) the appropriate amount of discipline for first-time and successive violations; (3) the mitigating and aggravating factors that are relevant to the determination of discipline; and (4) the circumstances that may not be considered in determining discipline.

Along with the views of the City, Division of Police, Department of Justice, and the Monitoring Team, the Proposed Disciplinary Matrix reflects the input of other critical stakeholders.  The Office of Professional Standards and the Citizen Police Review Board provided their comments on April 21, 2017.  Those comments were incorporated into later drafts.  On August 22, 2017, the Cleveland Community Police Commission (“CPC”) held a community meeting for Cleveland residents to share their feedback on a draft of the disciplinary matrix.  The CPC subsequently conferred with the Division to provide its comments and insights.  Additionally, the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (“CPPA”) expressed its concerns in an April 21, 2017 letter to CDP regarding proposed revisions to the disciplinary matrix and recommended additional changes for the Division to consider.

The Monitoring Team concluded that the revised Disciplinary Matrix satisfies the terms of the Consent Decree and recommended that the Court order it effective January 1, 2018.

Read more about the revised Disciplinary Matrix here.

Monitoring Team Recommends Approval of Crisis Intervention Policies

Pursuant to Paragraphs 154 through 156 of the Consent Decree, a host of the Decree’s other substantive requirements, and the Updated First-Year Monitoring Plan, the City of Cleveland (the “City”) has submitted a revised Crisis Intervention Policy and Procedure (the “CIT Policy”) to the Monitor.  The term crisis intervention refers to those law enforcement interactions involving individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis, such as mental health, substance abuse, or other long-term behavioral health challenges.

 As required by the Consent Decree in Paragraphs 132 through 134, the City established a Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (“Advisory Committee”) to address and coordinate crisis intervention issues with the Division.  The City in turn partnered with the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service Board of Cuyahoga County (“ADAMHS Board”) to develop the Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee consists of members of the community, including mental health professionals, advocates, individuals recovering from mental illness and addiction disorders, Cleveland’s Municipal Court, the State of Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (“CJCCOE”), and representatives from the City and CPD.  Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Monitoring Team were invited to participate in the Advisory Committee as well.  The Advisory Committee has met regularly and has worked hard to “foster relationships and build support between the police, the community and mental health providers."

The Monitoring Team has closely reviewed the proposed crisis intervention policy.  The CIT Policy submitted to the Monitor makes it clear that a “crisis intervention response may be necessary even in situations where there has been an apparent law violation.”  Consent Decree ¶ 154.  It provides that specialized CIT officers will “have appropriate discretion to direct individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues to the health care system.”  Consent Decree ¶ 155.  Additionally, the policy makes it clear that specialized CIT officers, when available, must be dispatched to all calls or incidents that appear to involve an individual in crisis.  Consent Decree ¶ 156.  Because the City has submitted a CIT Policy that has met the requirements and objectives of the Consent Decree, the Monitoring Team recommends approval of the policy subject to the conditions regarding the completion of certain attachments discussed below.

Review the new policies here.

Motions Regarding CPD Equipment & Resource Plan and Body-Worn Camera Policy Submitted to the Court

The Monitoring Team has filed motions relating to (1) CPD's required Equipment & Resource Plan, and (2) the proposed policy on the use of body-worn cameras. Although the Equipment & Resource Plan does represent some commendable work and engagement on a number of important issues and sub-issues relating to the technology and infrastructure that CPD’s officers require, the Monitoring Team cannot approve the Plan its current form because it doers not yet specifically, strategically, and comprehensively provide CPD officers with the tools they need to do their jobs.  You can read the Monitoring Team's full filing to the court relating to the Equipment & Resource Plan here.

Meanwhile, the Monitoring Team approves of the Body-Worn Camera Policy, with the exception of three specific policy sections relating to the use of cameras in secondary employment, public access to captured video, and officer access to captured video.  You can read the Monitoring Team's filing to the court here.