A Stronger Community Police Commission
Under Issue 24, we propose that the Commission consist of 13 citizens that are broadly representative of the racial, social, economic, and cultural demographics of Cleveland. That includes racial minorities, immigrants and/or refugees, LGBTQ+ individuals, youth, faith, business, and other constituents.
The Mayor will appoint all 13 members to the Commission, with approval of the Council by majority vote, for four-year terms following an application process. The Mayor will also be able to remove members for any malfeasance or gross neglect of duty, and other serious misconduct.
At least two of the members must represent community organizations focused on civil rights.
At least one Commission member must represent or be familiar with issues concerning:
- Homelessness, substance abuse, or mental illness
- Police violence and brutality (this can include a family member of a person killed by police violence)
- Gun violence survivors (this can include a family member of a person killed by gun violence)
- Someone who is formerly incarcerated but has been exonerated (where police were involved in the wrongful conviction or incarceration)
- An attorney with experience representing victims of police misconduct
- Individuals who have limited English proficiency
The Mayor may appoint three representatives of police associations, including police associations with racial or ethnic minority officers as members. These police group representatives must have a strong community relations background and no record of police misconduct.
Under Issue 24, the Commission will have the power not just to solicit community input and make policy recommendations, but to actually implement those recommendations. It will have final authority over police policies, procedures, and training regimens, including screening processes for new recruits and bias-screening and training for existing police officers. The Commission’s powers and duties will also include auditing and verifying police-officer training; proposing and advocating for related legislation or regulations at the local and state level; and making grants to community-based violence prevention, restorative justice, and mediation programs.
*For the full list of qualifications, please refer to the charter amendment here (pg. 7).
Frequently asked questions
What is Issue 24 all about?
- A common-sense ballot initiative that ensures real accountability by holding independent investigations into police misconduct, giving final authority on discipline to a civilian board of community representatives, and providing Clevelanders with permanent and powerful civilian oversight over policing and community-safety policies.
What will Issue 24 do for Clevelanders?
- Our ballot measure would protect our loved ones, strengthen relationships between police and the community, and save precious taxpayer dollars by ensuring real accountability within the Cleveland Division of Police.
- This initiative is democracy at work—by allowing civilians to help improve police accountability, we can create a safer Cleveland for all families.
- Not only would this ballot measure make Cleveland safer, it would also save our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Since 2010, the City of Cleveland has paid out nearly $47 million in settlements arising from police misconduct1. That means an average of $381,000 per settlement2. Implementing the Consent Decree also costs taxpayers between $6 million and $11 million annually, according to the Community Police Commission3. (By contrast, the cost of Issue 24 would only be equivalent to less than 2% of the annual police budget.)
- By ensuring real police accountability, we can stop wasting taxpayer dollars on settlements for police wrongdoing and put back the resources we need into our communities so all of us can thrive.
1 What’s in the Cleveland Police Budget? (Policy Matters Ohio; July 22, 2021)
2 What’s in the Cleveland Police Budget? (Policy Matters Ohio; July 22, 2021)
3 POLICE OVERSIGHT IN CLEVELAND: Best Practices for Civilian Oversight & Initial Review of Cleveland’s Oversight Structure (Cleveland Community Police Commission; September 2019)