Cleveland’s inability to create policy manuals for investigating and reviewing noncriminal allegations of police misconduct has delayed progress for some provisions of a court-ordered consent decree to reform the city’s police department, reports the Associated Press. “If there are delays in one area, it sends ripples across others and the project overall,” said Matthew Barge, the independent monitor who reports to U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. The manuals are for two civilian-run agencies, the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates citizen complaints, and the Police Review Board, which reviews those investigations and recommends officer discipline. The monitoring plan called for completed standards manuals to be submitted to Oliver by June 30, a deadline pushed back to Nov. 30.
Barge said three members of the monitoring team have worked full-time since May creating the manuals for the city. Work on areas such as accountability, community policing and data analysis have been delayed because of the Office of Professional Standards problems and are just getting started, Barge said. The city of Cleveland did not respond to a request for comment. Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a formal agreement in May 2015 to seek a court-ordered consent decree after a DOJ investigation found a pattern and practice of Cleveland officers using excessive force and violating people’s civil rights. The investigation also found deficiencies in how the Office of Professional Standards investigates citizen complaints, concluding it “falls woefully short of meeting its obligations to ensure officer accountability and promote community trust.”