City of Cleveland Provides Consent Decree Status Update

The City of Cleveland today provided an update summary on the status of the Consent Decree. Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Consent Decree Implementation Coordinator Judge Gregory A. White hosted a press conference providing information on the status of the settlement agreement as the administration prepares to transition. Under the Consent Decree, the City is now moving from policy development and training into the assessment phase. View today’s press conference, presentation and the full status report.

“When we entered into negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice, we set an aggressive time period that would force us and everyone involved to be aggressive in making these changes,” said Mayor Jackson. “We wanted to do our jobs with a sense of urgency and because of that, we are much further ahead than if this were an open-ended process. In that sense, I am pleased. We are now in the phase of evaluation and once we are past this phase, we can then see if we can accomplish two years of compliance in the key areas noted in the agreement.” 

By the invitation of the City of Cleveland, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) completed an investigation of the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) which culminated in an agreement between the DOJ and the City of Cleveland known as the Consent Decree in 2015. 

“This is a critical stage as the Cleveland Division of Police moves from the issue of policy development and training into an area of assessment,” said Judge Gregory White who also today announced his retirement from the position.

Key areas of the Consent Decree included incorporating Community and Problem Oriented Policing to build trust with the Cleveland community, establishing systems of Accountability and Transparency including Officer Training and Wellness, and ensuring that modern policies governing Bias-Free Policing, Use of Force, Search and Seizure, and dealing with persons in crisis were adopted and followed. 

The City of Cleveland assembled the many disciplines needed to comply with the Consent Decree, led by the Coordinator Greg White.  The Compliance team consisted of CDP leadership, policy writers, and data analysts, members from the Public Safety Department, the Law Department, the Finance Department, Division of Information Technology and Services and other experts to begin the work of long term reforms of policing in Cleveland.

In addition, the City also contracted with Case Western University’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, to provide technical assistance in data collection, analysis, and required outcome measurements. The Consent Decree compliance team also sought and received assistance from many facets of the Cleveland community through forums, meetings and surveys in the process of developing “best practices” for CDP.

While much progress towards compliance has been made, there is still much work to be done.  The City has reached the point where data collection and analysis will determine whether the CDP is performing as required by the reforms currently in place.