City of Cleveland files new use of force policies for police

Deadly force policy changes for CLE officers

CLEVELAND - The city of Cleveland has filed new use of force policies for police with the U.S. District Court.

The new policies were made public for feedback in September. They'll become effective early next year, the city says.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said the new policies are a step toward more understanding between the police and public.

"These new policies are just one part of the reform process that I have promised to the citizens of Cleveland," Jackson said in a news release issued Wednesday morning. "The city remains fully committed to implementing the changes set forth in the Consent Decree and today we are one step closer to achieving our goals."

The new policies include changes to the department's general outline of use of force principals and specific expectations on when the department is authorized to use force. It also defines commonly used terms regarding use of force policies and mandates officers to use "affirmative strategies and tactics" to ensure safety and to reduce a need for severity of force used.

Among the policies are the following five general police orders:

Use of force: General -- This is the core CPD policy that outlines when officers may and may not use force. That is, incorporating the Consent Decree’s use of force principles, into a policy that governs officer performance on the streets of Cleveland. The other four policies build from, correspond to, or explain this core policy.

Use of force: Definitions -- This policy provides the meaning of specialized or key terms used throughout the other force policies.

Use of force: De-escalation -- Although an officer’s duty to de-escalate situations where it is safe and feasible to do so is contained within the general policy, the de-escalation policy goes into greater detail about this important requirement.

Use of force: Intermediate weapons -- This policy contains a number of regulations about particular types of force instruments or tools that officers use, such as the baton OC (pepper) spray, and Taser that are less-lethal instruments.

Use of force: Reporting -- This policy outlines the obligation of officers to report when they use force and what officers can expect about CPD’s administrative response to force, which depends on the nature and severity of the force used.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said the new policies will give his officers "more clarity in difficult situations." He said he also hopes it leads to better understanding between the community and police.

The city and Department of Justice reached an agreement on a consent decree back in May. The two also made an agreement to reform the police department in 2014.

To view the full set of new policies, see the document below.

Cleveland's new use of force policy by on Scribd


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