As our community prepares to confront several complex and emotional police-related issues in the weeks and months ahead, citizens, community leaders, clergy, educators, businesspeople and more are coming together as One Cleveland.
Not only are they cheering for the Cavaliers and Indians, they are engaging in dialogue and offering their support and cooperation in fostering understanding and ensuring order and public safety.
The forthcoming verdict in the Officer Michael Brelo trial, coupled with anticipated rulings in the Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson cases, are symbolic of the much broader issue of finding ways to ensure that Cleveland is a community where all citizens receive the respect they expect and deserve.
We are working hard to ensure that the men and women of the Cleveland Division of Police expand on the trust with the community and mend relationships where there has been mistrust. In turn, it is my hope that all citizens will come to better understand and respect our police officers and work with them to make our city the best it can be.
The city has been focused on police reform since the day I took office as Mayor, and we have seen results from our efforts. Yet we know there is much more that we need to do. We are changing our recruiting and hiring procedures, with the goal of bringing on a more diverse mix of new officers who are representative of the community. We have provided crisis intervention training to more than 500 police officers and dispatchers and will train an additional 100 officers by the end of 2015. Body cameras are being deployed and all officers will be trained in their use, making our police department one of the largest forces to have every officer equipped with body cameras.
Each of these changes is another step toward our ultimate goal of building and maintaining a stronger community. Our city and region are diverse, but we are and must remain One Cleveland. Working toward unity rather than creating divisiveness in the face of challenges will ensure that we have the opportunity to make things better for the future.
To that end, we must not allow a single decision or action to undermine our vital progress in making this a city where safety, trust and understanding prevail. Indeed, what we all do in the weeks and months ahead will define and shape our community for years to come.
– Mayor Frank G. Jackson