Background

The City of Cleveland, Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Community Police Commission, United States Department of Justice, and the Court-appointed federal monitoring team are all asking for community feedback on the CPD's proposed new Use of Force policy, and some other related policies.

The Consent Decree between the United States and City of Cleveland requires, among other things, that the Cleveland Division of Police ("CPD") "revise, develop, and implement force policies . . . with the goal of ensuring that force is used in accordance with the Constitution." (Consent Decree ¶ 45.)  

Early in the reform process, the Community Police Commission ("CPC") convened a series of community forums and listening sessions. They prepared an in-depth report that summarized the experiences, history, views, values, and interests of Cleveland's diverse communities with respect to force. At the same time, the Division of Police gathered input, experiences, and feedback from CPD officers on the use of force policies, also preparing an in-depth summary report of what was heard. Subsequently, CPD set to work on revising the Division's use of force policy to be both consistent with the Consent Decree's requirements and the values of the community.

We have now come to the point where it is time for community feedback on the specific Use of Force and related policies that have resulted from this process. The Consent Decree stakeholders are all aiming to work together to solicit and receive input on these policies from the Cleveland community.

The policies are not yet final. Instead, they reflect CPD's efforts to date to create a policy that complies with the Consent Decree. None of the Court, Monitor, City, or Department of Justice have yet signed off on or approved the policies. That will happen only after the community engagement process. Indeed, these policies are likely to change further as community feedback is directly incorporated.

The development of the policies is far enough along, however, that community input is timely and necessary.

Overview Materials

Video Overview of Proposed New Use of Force Policies for CPD

Video Overview

Watch a 9-minute video presentation, with Monitor Matthew Barge and Deputy Monitor Charles Ramsey, about the proposed new use of force policy, produced in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College.

summary of key changes

Download a 1-page summary of the key differences between CPD's prior use of force policy and the proposed new policy.

use of force fact sheet

Download a 4-page summary of the most important provisions of CPD's proposed new use of force policy.

Proposed New Use of Force Policies

UPDATED NOV. 15, 2016: At two community roundtables regarding the proposed Use of Force policies available below, Consent Decree stakeholders indicated that they would answer all questions submitted from the small breakout groups – and post the answers on the Monitoring Team's website. The Questions & Answers from those Community Roundtable events can be found here.

UPDATED OCT. 4, 2016: There are now five (5) related CPD "General Police Orders" that are currently the subject of community comment and feedback.

The first and most important is the Use of Force: General policy. The General policy tells officers when force is authorized and when it is not authorized. Although the other policies are important, this is the core policy related to force that governs officer performance on the streets of Cleveland. The other policies build off of, correspond, or explain this core policy.

The second policy is a Use of Force: Definitions policy. This policy provides guidance on the meaning of specialized terms used throughout the other documents.

The third policy is a Use of Force: De-Escalation policy. Although an officer's duty to de-escalate situations where it is safe and feasible to do so is contained within the General policy, the De-Escalation policy goes into greater detail about this important requirement.

The fourth policy is the Use of Force: Intermediate Weapons policy. It contains a number of policies about particular types of force instruments or tools that officers use, such as the baton, OC (or pepper) spray, and Taser.

The final policy (posted Oct. 4, 2016) is a Use of Force Reporting policy. That policy spells out the requirements for officers to report force and the basic expectations that officers can have about the Division of Police's response to force depending on the nature and severity of the force used.

There are several ways to make your voice heard on the proposed new force policies.

Community Feedback & Survey Form

You can participate in the Consent Decree process directly by sending your comments and views using a specialized Feedback and Survey Form.

Click here to leave feedback and take the feedback survey.

Attend a Community Roundtable

The Consent Decree stakeholders – including the City, Cleveland Division of Police, Community Police Commission, and Department of Justice – will be holding two community roundtables. At each roundtable event, the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team will provide an overview of the Use of Force policies. Participants then will have in-depth, small group discussions about the policies, with an opportunity to report their views to representatives of the Consent Decree stakeholders and to the larger community group assembled.

There are two roundtables planned:

Roundtable 1: Thursday, September 15, 5:30-8:30pm at the Jerry Sue Thornton Center (2500 East 22nd St., Cleveland, OH 44115)

Roundtable 2: Tuesday, September 20, 5:30-8:30pm at Urban Community School (4909 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102)

If you are interested in attending a community roundtable, click on the roundtable above that you would like to attend and follow the registration prompts.  Given the small-group discussion format of the evening, the stakeholders are asking for this advance sign-up.

Stay Connected

Text CLEMONITOR to 22828 (your carrier's standard text message charges will apply) to be added to the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team's email list. You will receive updates and ongoing news from the Monitoring Team about the status of the force policies and other Consent Decree work.