City of Cleveland Leads In Climate Change Action

Today, the World Wildlife Foundation announced that the City of Cleveland, along with the cities of Evanston and Seattle, are finalists in World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour City Challenge, a year-long challenge recognizing cities responding to the threats of climate change and reducing their carbon footprint. The cities were chosen by WWF and global management consultancy Accenture for transitioning their communities toward a climate-friendly future.

Cleveland was named a “Bright Place to Live” in 2013 by WWF for helping city residents access 100% renewable electricity.

Cleveland was named a “Bright Place to Live” in 2013 by WWF for helping city residents access 100% renewable electricity.

One of these cities will serve as the 2015 U.S. Earth Hour City Capital and receive funding from WWF to advance local climate readiness efforts. Over 40 local governments from across the country are members of this year’s group of Earth Hour City Challengers.

Under Mayor Frank G. Jackson, the City of Cleveland is striving to build “a green city on a blue lake” and a reputation among its peers for innovative and ambitious climate action.

The city has been an active participant in the Earth Hour City Challenge from the program’s beginning in 2012, when it won the Earth Hour Climate Leadership Award and support from WWF for its Mayor’s Sustainability Summit which brought together over 500 Clevelanders for two days to guide the city’s green initiatives.

This year, Cleveland is working with WWF on “Solarize Cleveland,” a program to bring rooftop solar to residents around the city and county.

“I am pleased that the City of Cleveland is being recognized as an Earth Hour City Challenge finalist for our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Chief of Sustainability Jenita McGowan. “We see climate action as a key way to position Cleveland for the future as we transition to a more sustainable economy.”

The 2015 U.S. Earth Hour City Capital will be announced in February and will then compete with finalist cities from 16 other countries across WWF’s network for the title of Global Earth Hour Capital. All told, more than 160 cities participated this year.

For the designation as Earth Hour Capital, each of the country finalists’ climate plans are being evaluated by an international panel of climate policy and sustainable development experts. Actions to promote renewable energy are prominently featured in this year’s challenge.

Read the full press release from the World Wildlife Foundation here: http://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/cleveland-evanston-and-seattle-lead-in-climate-change-action

 

A Letter from Mayor Jackson

Cleveland has come a long way over the last decade. We have made great progress in terms of education, positioning for the future, economic development and opportunities, along with improving our image nationally and internationally.

A Letter from Mayor Jackson

This progress has been overshadowed by recent events, particularly the release of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) report. Cleveland has met and overcome many challenges and we will maintain our focus as we go through the challenges of today. I am aware of the challenges, and I know that we will pull through as we have in the recent past.

Frank Jackson2883C

As you may know, the City of Cleveland contacted the DOJ in 2012 after the November 29, 2012, East Cleveland incident, where Cleveland Police officers were involved in the use of deadly force, to review the city’s policy governing police use of force.

The City of Cleveland is not opposed to the investigation. We welcome the review and will make any necessary changes. This review gives the City of Cleveland the greatest opportunity to reform and improve practices that are needed in the Division of Police.

The DOJ investigation was completed on December 4, 2014. On December 2, 2014, The City of Cleveland and the DOJ entered into a “Joint Statement of Principles” agreement which states “the parties have agreed to begin negotiations with the intentions of reaching a court-enforceable settlement agreement…..” “As one of its terms will include a provision for an outside independent monitor to ensure continued compliance….”

While in the negotiation period, The City of Cleveland is reviewing the DOJ’s findings to determine which areas the city does or does not agree with. We will enter into a consent decree once those areas are agreed upon. This is a normal part of the negotiating process.

To date, the City of Cleveland and the DOJ have begun negotiations with the purpose of reaching a settlement, as to what will be in the consent decree. Several meetings have been held and others are scheduled.

At the same time, the City of Cleveland is identifying areas that can be changed before the settlement. We are reviewing policies and determining need for change, legislative actions that may be needed, and modifications of collective bargaining provisions.

Although we invited and welcomed the DOJ investigation, the DOJ’s investigation and findings report on police practices does not look far enough into the criminal justice system. The review should be broadened to include the criminal justice system as a whole, to determine if there is disparity, or a pattern of practice of Constitution violation.

The review should include who gets arrested, who gets charged, what they are charged with, who gets indicted, what cases are brought to the grand jury, and what sentences are being imposed in court.

When police officers are involved, the disparity and the risk of a pattern of constitution violation are even greater.

The majority of the men and women who protect and serve our city do so with the highest level of integrity and with each of your best interest at heart. This is no way an indictment on them and I applaud them.

However, I want to be clear, that those officer who are not following the policy, procedures and general police orders, and who do not conduct themselves in a professional manner that our citizens deserve, will be held accountable and, if appropriate, terminated.

As mentioned before, we have the greatest opportunity to change the inadequacies in The Cleveland Police department as well as the criminal justice system. We can rid the system of disparity and pattern of practice of Constitution violation.

Change can only happen if we remove the fog of confusion and the noise of chaos. In order to make our city great, we must secure the constitution privileges of every citizen and Cleveland police officer.

City of Cleveland Responds to Questions on DOJ Findings

Today I will provide responses to some questions posed recently about the DOJ report by local media (NEOMG):

1: Regarding settling lawsuits against police officers, does the mayor have to sign off on each settlement?

The City’s Codified Ordinances give the Law Director authority to settle lawsuits involving the City.  As with all attorney-client relationships, the Mayor and the Law Director confer regularly about cases pending against the City.

IMG_2735 - Copy web

2: Does the city flag officers who were sued by citizens multiple times or classify them as high risk for misconduct?

The Division of Police has an Early Intervention Program.  This program relies on a number of indicators to flag an officer who may need guidance or assistance.

The indicators include:

  • Administrative charges sustained
  • Sick time abuse
  • The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) complaints
  • Use of force incidents
  • Internal affairs investigations

Use of force lawsuits are not a separate indicator because any use of force already is an indicator. Chief Williams and the Division of Police are in the process of reviewing the Early Intervention Program indicators in conjunction with a new software tracking program.

3: NEOMG asks: The mayor has said repeatedly that the findings of the U.S. Justice Department are allegations, and that the city will conduct its own investigation to determine what is factual.  But these cases, on their face, suggest a pattern over the past decade of which the mayor should have been aware.  Was he not?  If the city has the capability to investigate the claims that the DOJ has made, why wasn’t that effort made years ago – before the federal government intervened?

The assumptions in this question are false.

First, settlements do not evidence any kind of pattern or practice.  Each lawsuit filed against the City has its own specific facts.  In several of the cases, the Judge dismissed the City (the municipal corporation) as a party because the plaintiff could not show a pattern or practice that caused the particular incident or injury.

Lawsuits are settled for a variety of reasons, but a settlement does not mean that the City or the police officers are at fault or that excessive force was used.  Lawsuits may be settled because the settlement amount is cheaper than the cost to take the case to trial.  It is common for parties to settle cases – corporations, nonprofits, individuals, the Plain Dealer, NEOMG, etc.

web IMG_2530

Just as it does not mean that the Plain Dealer engages in a pattern or practice of libel because it may have settled several libel cases, the City’s settlement of excessive force cases does not mean that the City and its police officers engage in a pattern or practice of excessive force.

Second, the Mayor has not said that the DOJ findings are allegations.  He has said that he does not agree with everything in the report.  He has said that he sees the report as an opportunity for the City to address issues that have been identified.

The City is reviewing the DOJ letter to determine the areas to be addressed in the settlement negotiation process.

Additionally, the Mayor has said that he does not believe that the DOJ report fully addresses the very complex subject of the criminal justice system and policing.  Many entities are involved in this system and have an effect on who is arrested, who is charged, and how their cases are addressed.  Those entities include arbitrators who review the City’s imposition of discipline.

Third, the suggestion that the City is just now thinking about and investigating use of force is wrong.  The Mayor was concerned about use of force before he took office as Mayor.  That is why he stated in his first press conference after being sworn in that the use of excessive force will not be tolerated.

Force2014-page-001

The following have occurred since the Mayor has been in office:

  1. He hired a special prosecutor to rule on the backlog of use of force cases pending in the City Prosecutor’s office.
  2. Under his leadership, changes were made to General Police Orders (GPO) regarding use of force, including the requirement that all officers who witness use of force must make a report.  The General Police Orders governing use of force have been revised multiple times over the past nine years.
  3. The City hired the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to review the City’s use of force policies and practices well before the DOJ announced its investigation.  PERF concluded in an October 19, 2012 letter:  “Overall we found the Division’s policies and procedures sound and comprehensive.  Our recommendations are aimed at enhancing them further.”  The City has addressed each of the 26 recommendations contained in the report issued by PERF.
  4. The City revised its Use of Deadly Force Investigation manual.
  5. The City changed its in-service training to focus on tactical training.
  6. The Field Training Officer program was revamped.
  7. The City instituted changes to how it evaluates candidates for promotions to supervisory positions by conducting oral interviews.
  8. The City implemented the use of Tasers.  Taser use is credited with reducing the use of deadly force and the use of less lethal force.
  9. The City implemented its Early Intervention Program.
  10. The City hired Wilson Strategies to conduct a Citizen Satisfaction Survey in 2011.
  11. Almost three years ago, the City started to investigate body-worn cameras and a body-worn camera program is near implementation.

This focus on use of force has resulted in a reduction in both use of deadly force and use of less lethal force.  The City’s published statistics show a downward trend in the use of all types of force over the past nine years.

Furthermore, the City investigates each use of force incident when it happens.

4: How does the city determine whether it will represent an officer who is sued for conduct while off duty.  Is that decision-making process governed by the provisions in the union contract or something else?

The Ohio Revised Code, case law, and the collective bargaining agreements govern the City’s obligation to defend and indemnify an officer, including an officer who took actions while off-duty.  The City is obligated to defend and indemnify an officer if that officer was acting both in good faith and not manifestly outside the scope of his or her official responsibilities.  Because off-duty officers have a duty to intervene when police intervention is needed, the courts have construed certain actions taken while off-duty to be within the scope of the officer’s official responsibilities.

The City has refused defense and representation to officers through the years, most specifically when the officer was acting for a secondary employer, as well as when the City determines that the officer was not acting in good faith and the officer’s actions were manifestly outside the scope of the officer’s responsibilities.  Many officers do not challenge this decision, but some challenges have resulted in the City being found to be responsible for the defense and indemnification of the officer.

5: Does the city have a policy on asking plaintiffs in these kinds of cases to sign agreements promising confidentiality or that the plaintiff won’t disparage the department, the city or the officer?

The City does not have such a policy.  The provisions of each settlement agreement are negotiated between the parties.  Frequently, plaintiffs will as for a confidentiality agreement.  The City understands that the settlement agreements are a public record and informs those plaintiffs who request confidentiality.

The Bottom Line is – If you want to read more about what the mayor has said about the DOJ Report you can find the transcript of the 100 minute press conference as well as the full video version on the city’s website.

http://portal.cleveland-oh.gov/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/MayorsOffice/tv20/PressConference

Airport Director Ricky D. Smith on Aircraft Diversions at CLE Hopkins International Airport

The information reported in the account published by the Plain Dealer on January 21st regarding the aircraft diversions at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was inaccurate and misleading. The article suggested that the aircraft diversions were the result of insufficient airfield pavement conditions at CLE, which is categorically untrue.

Ricky D. Smith, Director of Port Control

Ricky D. Smith, Director of Port Control

At the time of the diversion, CLE was operating on one of the two main parallel runways while the other runway was being cleared of accumulated snow. The decision to clear the runway was made with the concurrence of the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower.

The active runway was clear of snow and operations were normal. Immediately prior to the aircraft diversion, visibility at CLE dropped to ¼ of a mile in fog with clouds at 500 feet and a ceiling at 1,700 feet in overcast skies.

The pilot of the diverted aircraft elected to divert to Columbus where visibility conditions were improved rather than attempting to land at CLE. That aircraft refueled in Columbus and returned to CLE within a short period of time as the visibility at CLE improved to 1½ miles.

Ultimately the pilot of each aircraft determines the operation of their aircraft based on the performance characteristics of that particular aircraft as well as the training and competency of the pilot.

The media statement that the runways at CLE were unacceptable for aircraft operations is false. CLE is regarded as one of the safest cold weather airports due to the efficient snow removal processes that have steadily improved over the years. CLE utilizes state of the art snow removal equipment with trained operators and has one of the highest performing aircraft deicing facilities in the country.

CLE received 2.4 inches of snow during yesterday’s snow event and at no time was the airport unavailable for safe operations. The diversion was related to the decision made by the pilot due to reduced visibility conditions and not the airfield conditions at CLE.

Cleveland Police Officers Shot at While Investigating Violent Aggravated Burglary

Originally posted on Cleveland Division of Police:

Cleveland Police Officers Shot at While Investigating Violent Aggravated Burglary

On Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at approximately 5pm, Third District officers responded to a home in the 1400 block of East 61 Street for an aggravated burglary/shooting incident where a man came home to find that his home had been broken into.  Upon encountering the homeowner, a suspect fired shots at the victim.  Witnesses reported that the suspect entered a tan pick-up truck.

At approximately 7:20pm, zone car officers were on routine patrol in the area of East 79th Street and Redell Avenue when they observed a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle from the aggravated burglary/shooting incident.  Officers followed the suspect vehicle and activated the overhead lights of the zone car, the suspect vehicle then pulled into a driveway in the 7600 block of Redell Avenue.  Officers exited their zone car and one of the suspects immediately…

View original 247 more words

City of Cleveland Hires First Animal Adoption/Volunteer Coordinator

The Division of Animal Care & Control is pleased to announce the hiring of Cynthia Drozdowski-Breda as the city’s first ever Animal Adoption/ Volunteer Coordinator.  This new position will focus primarily on the enrichment of animals in the care of the city kennel, while simultaneously looking for favorable long-term solutions for the animals.

1237706_10151603881316962_2041221409_n

“This is an important step to increase the quality of care in the city kennel and to further expand our abilities to find good homes for these dogs,” said Chief Animal Control Officer Ed Jamison. “With Ms. Drozdowski-Breda coming on board, the opportunities and potential to create and expand programs that will greatly benefit the animals in the city kennel has significantly improved.”

Ms. Drozdowski-Breda is currently in the process of obtaining her Bachelor Degree in Communications with a minor in Spanish at John Carroll University. Most recently, Ms. Drozdowski-Breda has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter as well as a volunteer with the Lorain County Metroparks working with birds of prey. She will begin her employment on Monday, January 26, 2015.

About Cleveland Animal Care and Control

The City of Cleveland Division of Animal Care and Control is an open admission shelter that provides 24 hour a day animal control services to Cleveland residents. The kennel itself is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, with Sunday hours beginning February 1, 2015, from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM. For more information you may contact Chief Ed Jamison at: 216-664-3069 or ejamison@city.cleveland.oh.us

Dogs currently available for adoption can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/cacfbavailabledogs

Mayor Jackson and Officials Help Launch Year of Clean Water

Today, Mayor Frank G. Jackson helped launch the Year of Clean Water in the City of Cleveland. Every year leading up to 2019, the City Cleveland will focus on one of the key areas fundamental to a sustainable economy as a part of Mayor Jackson’s Sustainable Cleveland initiative. The initiative creates a framework for Clevelanders from all walks of life to work together to build a robust and resilient region by focusing attention on annual key areas fundamental to a suitable economy– 2015 is the Year of Clean Water.

web IMG_2395

The Year of Clean Water is designed to connect people to their water resources in order to restore, conserve and protect this valuable asset. “We’re  positioning and moving Cleveland into the future in order to create a sustainable economy,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “A sustainable economy creates opportunities for economic prosperity, increased quality of life and the improved physical and social health of our community, clean water is fundamental to that future.”

Cleveland’s location on Lake Erie – the 12th largest body of fresh water in the world – provides Cleveland with many advantages including access to nature, recreation, transportation, commerce and tourism.

The Year of Clean Water is being coordinated by a collaborative group of organizations and individuals including:

  • Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
  • Cleveland Division of Water
  • Cleveland Water Alliance
  • Greater Cleveland Aquarium
  • Great Lakes Science Center
  • Cleveland Public Theater
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
  • Cleveland Metroparks
  • National Park Service
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Doan Brook Watershed Partnership
  • Lake Erie Nature and Science Center
  • Cuyahoga National Park Conservancy
  • Nature Center and Shaker Lakes

Clean Water Tour and Sweepstakes has been coordinated by the Cleveland Water Alliance and organizations and individuals who work together to help keep our water drinkable, fishable, and swimmable.

From January through October, participants in the tour and sweepstakes will have a chance to win a grand prize of a 2-night getaway package in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and additional prizes include memberships to some of Cleveland’s museums and attractions. Enter the sweepstakes by visiting Year of Clean Water events—the more events attended, the greater the chances of winning. Learn more and see the complete list of events and prize details at: clevelandwateralliance.org/tour.

The first Sweepstakes and Tour event will be a Kick-off Event for the Year of Clean Water at Cleveland City Hall on Friday, January 23rd at Cleveland City Hall from 11:00 am-2:00 pm. Hosted by the Office of Sustainability, the event will feature local innovations, resources, and organizations working to keep our water clean as well as local food vendors for those visiting during their lunch hour.

For additional information about the Year of Clean Water and events, visit http://www.sustainablecleveland.org/celebration-topics/2015-clean-water/.

web IMG_2344