New Use-of-Force Protocols Proposed for Cleveland Police

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The monitoring team tracking the Cleveland police’s reform efforts on Wednesday filed a final draft of the police department’s proposed new use-of-force efforts, requesting a judge’s approval, reports the Plain Dealer. The draft is substantially similar to one released for public input in September. However, the monitoring team, city and U.S. Justice Department made tweaks after receiving input from various groups and members of the public. Police officers would be required to be trained under the new plan by the end of March. Chief U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr., who is overseeing a settlement the city has with the Justice Department, must approve the new policy before officers are trained.

The proposed reporting policy breaks down the seriousness of the force used into three levels. The first two levels, which range from unholstering a weapon to using a Taser or pepper spray, would require officers who use and observe force to provide a detailed account of what happened leading up to the force. It would require an explanation about what attempts officers made to de-escalate the situation and how a subject resisted. If a level three use of force is used, which includes deadly force, officers must make the same steps and also comply with any directives from the officer in charge of a team tasked with investigating use of force. Wednesday’s motion says citizens emphasized the need for policies that address how officers communicate with subjects when force may be necessary, and how to deal with the mentally ill.

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