CLEVELAND, Ohio — Many of the reforms that the city of Cleveland will soon implement as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department fall in line with the best practices that a panel of experts came up with and presented to President Barack Obama.
An advisory report by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing makes several recommendations that cities and communities can follow in order to improve relations between police officers and the people they protect. The report was announced in a news release by the Justice Department on Tuesday.
The recommendations include:
• Reviewing and updating policies, training and data collection on use of force, and talking to community members and police unions in the process.
• Increasing transparency of data, policies and procedures.
• Calling on the Peace Officer Standards Training Commission for more training.
• Looking at hiring practices and ways to involve the community in recruiting.
• Ensuring officers have access to the tools they need to keep them safe.
The tenants are almost all, in some fashion, included in Cleveland’s settlement with the Justice Department over police use of force.
For example, the city is required to form a Community Police Commission as a way for residents and the police union to give input on police policies. The city is also needs to retain better records on incidents between officers and residents.
Cleveland also is required to look at its hiring policies and come up with a plan to attract candidates from all parts of the city.
Many of these prongs were used in settlements in other cities and helped inform the proposed reforms in Cleveland.
The task force’s report contains similar suggestions community members and local governments. It was formed in 2014 in order to “respond to a number of serious incidents between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect,” according to the report.
“The President wanted a quick but thorough response that would begin the process of healing and restore community trust,” the report states.
One of its force members, Sean Smoot of the Illinois Police Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois, is also serving on a team monitoring Cleveland’s progress under its settlement.