Police Oversight & Accountability
Cleveland has many layers of police oversight that operate both internally and externally to ensure fairness and accountability is upheld. There are various systems of oversight including federal departments, courts, administrative teams, units and independent boards and commissions.
The Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) has been under a Consent Decree since 2015. Following a 21-month long investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that the CDP engaged in excessive use of force. The DOJ concluded that the alleged pattern and practice of excessive force was related to structural and operational issues within the Division, and potentially violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law.
The City of Cleveland and DOJ entered into the Consent Decree to repair community trust and protect the constitutional rights of the people of Cleveland by identifying problems within the CDP and by creating and implementing policies and practices to correct these problems. The Consent Decree identifies multiple problem areas for which the CDP is required to make policy changes, implement new training, or restructure Division practices. These areas include: (1) Community Engagement, (2) Community and Problem-Oriented Policing, (3) Bias-Free Policing, (4) Use of Force, (5) Crisis Intervention, (6) Search & Seizure, (7) Accountability, Transparency, & Oversight, and (8) Officer Assistance, Support, and Supervision.
The Monitoring Team
The Monitoring Team is appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to oversee and evaluate the City of Cleveland’s compliance with the Consent Decree. On April 12, 2023, Judge Oliver ordered the appointment of Karl Racine as Lead Monitor and Hogan Lovells LLP as the Monitoring Team. They meet regularly with members of the CDP, U.S. Department of Justice, and City law department to oversee changes in policies and training, deliver technical assistance, and provide updates to the parties on compliance. Semi-annual reports are released by the Monitoring Team documenting the City’s compliance with the Consent Decree.
- Monitor Report #1
- Monitor Report #2
- Monitor Report #3
- Monitor Report #4
- Monitor Report #5
- Monitor Report #6
- Monitor Report #7
- Monitor Report #8
- Monitor Report #9
- Monitor Report #10
- Monitor Report #11
Response to Monitor Reports:
Police Accountability Team
The Police Accountability Team (PAT) supports the Cleveland Division of Police in achieving compliance with the consent decree issued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2015. Responsibilities include policy review, updates, and audits, in addition to making recommendations on best practices in an effort to accelerate reform across the Division.
In order to establish greater trust within the community and protect constitutional rights, newly implemented policies and practices will focus on the following eight (8) areas:
- Community engagement
- Community and problem-oriented policing
- Bias-free policing
- Use of force
- Crisis intervention
- Search & seizure
- Accountability, transparency & oversight
- Officer assistance, support, and supervision
Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
Appointed by the Mayor, the Inspector General for the Cleveland Division of Police reports directly to the Chief of Police.
The OIG assists the Division with the following tasks:
- Reviewing Division policies and practices for compliance with all relevant standards and to determine whether each promotes both officer and public safety.
- Performing policy compliance audits.
- Investigating and analyzing trends, including making recommendations for reform concerning Division policies, procedures, practices, training, and equipment to improve service and accountability.
- Analyzing the investigations conducted by the Office of Professional Standards.
- Analyzing and assessing disciplinary trends within the Division.
Reports and recommendations for reform are made public.
Persons wishing to file a complaint regarding a member of the Division should consult this page: Complaint Process.
- Inspector General
- Deputy Inspector General / Senior Policy Analyst
- Executive Assistant / Paralegal
- 2021 Preliminary Review of O.P.S. Operating and Procedural Manual
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Vehicle Pursuit Policy
- 2020 Recommendation regarding compliance with Presidential Executive Order
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Communications Control
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Community and Problem
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Employee Misconduct
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Wearable Camera System Policy
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Bias-Free Policing Policy
- 2020 Review and Analysis of Current Division Use of Force Policy
- 2020 Review of Officer State Certification Status Mandated Training Processes
The Department of Public Safety’s Internal Affairs Unit reviews and investigates complaints of criminal conduct by the Cleveland Division of Police employees and refers to the appropriate law enforcement entity including the Prosecutor’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigations or U.S. Department of Justice.
Office of Professional Standards
- Join us on Tuesday August 22, 2023 for our 2nd August CPRB meeting. This meeting will be virtual and is scheduled to begin at 9am. The CPRB meeting will be livestreamed via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjvji5gYnraY74Emrj6N5wg. If you would like a WebEx invite, please contact our office at 216-664-2944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For your review: Proposed Policy Recommendation for Stolen Vehicles. If you would like to leave feedback for this policy recommendation, please email OPS/CPRB at email@example.com.
The Office of Professional Standards receives and investigates non-criminal complaints of police misconduct from the public and reports its findings to the Civilian Police Review Board. OPS is an independent agency within the City of Cleveland composed of civilian employees only.
OPS is also empowered to make findings and recommend action to the Civilian Police Review Board (“CPRB”) regarding those complaints.
The mission of OPS to increase accountability and improve public confidence in the police by receiving and fairly, thoroughly, objectively, and timely investigating and resolving misconduct complaints against Cleveland Division of Police employees.
As part of its mission, OPS is also empowered to make policy recommendations that will improve the citizen complaint process, increase understanding between the public and CDP employees, reduce the incidence of misconduct and reduce the risk of the use of force by CDP officers.
OPS is committed to providing the community with an accessible and safe environment in which to file complaints and have their complaints heard.
Any person wishing to file a complaint against a member of the Cleveland Division of Police can do so by using one of the options below:
- Complete and Submit the complaint form online
- Download the complaint form (PDF), complete it, and send it to OPS through: a) email at CLEPoliceComplaints@clevelandohio.gov, b) fax at (216) 420-8764, or c) US mail at 205 West St. Clair Ave., Suite 301, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
- By Phone at (216) 664-2944 (an OPS investigator will assist you in filling a complaint over the phone)
- In-Person at the Office of Professional Standards, 205 W. St. Clair Ave., Suite 301, Cleveland, OH 44113
- You can also find complaint forms to complete at the Cleveland Division of Police Headquarters, all five Cleveland Division of Police District Stations, as well as Cleveland City Hall (601 Lakeside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114).
Civilian Police Review Board
The Civilian Police Review Board is a nine-member board that oversees the Office of Professional Standards and can conduct hearings, subpoena evidence and recommend discipline or policy changes.
Civilian Police Review Board Hearings
The Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) holds monthly hearings. The public is welcome to attend the hearings.
Complainants are notified in advance when their complaint is scheduled to be reviewed by the CPRB.
Date: The second Tuesday of each month
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: We are pleased to be back in person! Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) monthly meetings will be held at Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave Room 514, Cleveland, OH 44114. CPRB meetings will continue to be livestreamed on YouTube as, please join us here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjvji5gYnraY74Emrj6N5wg
Community Police Commission
The Community Police Commission was established in 2022 following the passage of Issue 24 to serve as the final authority on police discipline, policies, training, and procedures. The 13-member commission is permanent and independent. Charter Section 115-5 outlines their powers and duties.