This is part of an ongoing series of monthly articles about the implementation of Issue 24 and how you can become involved in the fight for our public safety. Read the last issue on theclevelandobserver.com
By Yugan Sakthi
Into the third month of 2022, the police reforms of Issue 24 — incorporated into the City Charter as Section 115 — continue to be implemented. Key updates include court hearings about the Consent Decree, Mayor Justin Bibb’s first budget, and his 100-day goals.
In the coming days many will be keeping a watchful eye on how the City and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will reconcile the amended charter with the Consent Decree.
Recall that the City and the DOJ entered into a “Consent Decree” in 2015 to reform the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) after a two-year DOJ investigation that found patterns of unconstitutional policing. Because the Issue 24 reforms were much stronger, yet the DOJ policies hold more power, the two need to be reconciled.
The first hearings on amending the Consent Decree will take place on March 17 at 3:00 pm at the Federal Court House. It will be open the public and, as of now, will only be in-person. This might change, however, as many are hoping that an option to tune-in virtually will be available.
On Tuesday, February 1, Bibb unveiled his proposed budget for 2022. Among numerous changes from former mayor Frank Jackson’s 2021 budget, Bibb’s proposal would allocate significantly more money to Issue 24-related agencies.
Most notably, Bibb proposed $2,116,338 for the Community Police Commission (CPC) and $2,050,438 for the Office of Professional Standards (OPS — the agency that investigates all police misconduct allegations). The amended charter calls for an amount equivalent to 1% of the policing budget to be allocated for the CPC and the OPS, which the proposal seems to follow.
With an increase of $1,588,014 and $629,042, respectively, these would be significant funding boosts to both agencies. And, according to the amended charter, half of the CPC’s budget will go towards grantmaking efforts for community programs and alternatives to policing.
The proposed budget also calls for $182,233 for the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB), a $21,342 increase from 2021.
The deadline for City Council and the mayor to reach a budget agreement is April 1. Budget hearings began on Tuesday, February 22.
100 Day Goals
Bibb also outlined his goals for his first 100 days in office. Many of them concern the implementation of Issue 24 measures, including resolving Consent Decree overlap, launching a task force to design a neighborhood-based community policing model, and launching police reforms focused on Cleveland youth.
The complete list of goals can be found on the mayor’s website at mayor.clevelandohio.gov/#tracker-section
What Can You Do?
Both the Civilian Police Review Board and the Community Police Commission hold meetings that are open to the public.
The CPRB holds its meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. The next one will be on March 8th at 9:00am. You can find live streams on the OPS website at: https://www.clevelandohio.gov/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/CityAgencies/OPS.
The CPC holds meetings specific to each police district. You can find a schedule of meetings on the CPC website at https://clecpc.org/get-involved/calendar/. Click on a specific event on the page to find which police district your community is a part of.
Finally, if you have any questions or would like to request specific information to appear in next month’s Issue 24 update, please do not hesitate to reach out to The Cleveland Observer at info@theclevelandobserver or on the website under “Spot It! Post It!” at the top of the page.