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Rep. Howse applauds federal consent decree, eyes progress for community-police relations

May 26, 2015
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today applauded the consent decree negotiated between the City of Cleveland and the federal Department of Justice, saying the agreement is an important step toward achieving real progress on community-police relations in Cleveland.    

Announced at a joint press conference this afternoon, the ground-breaking agreement between the city and federal justice officials includes provisions on community engagement, use-of-force, support and resources, minimizing stereotyping, accountability and crisis intervention. In particular, the agreement enables Cleveland to continue its city-wide implementation of body cameras for all officers and establishes a new community police commission that will work with neighborhoods to provide input into police matters.

“The reforms being implemented in Cleveland will make our officers better equipped to perform their duties while ensuring fair treatment for all city residents,” said Howse. “With the cooperation of federal authorities and local and state leaders, this brings us closer to significant justice reform in our community and state.”

The agreement also promises comprehensive cultural competency training for officers as well as case analysis of officer behavior to eliminate instances of racial or other types of discrimination. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach also announced the formation of a new police inspector general position to be filled by a well-qualified civilian to oversee the police department’s internal affairs unit.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of recommendations from Ohio’s Task Force on Community-Police Relations and a call to action for justice reform from Ohio’s Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC), of which Howse is a member.