By Nick Castele, NPR Cleveland (Sep. 7, 2017)
Cleveland police have agreed to cut in half a backlog of citizen complaint cases by the end of the year. The monitor overseeing the city’s consent decree laid out a schedule of deadlines in a federal court filing last week.
The monitoring team in June said that Cleveland is moving too slowly in finishing years-old investigations of complaints against officers.
The city hired more investigators. Now the Office of Professional Standards has a goal: complete all remaining 136 cases from 2014 and 2015 by the end of this year, reducing the backlog by about 50 percent. The office also aims to finish half of the cases filed this year.
The agreement also says investigators will make audio recordings of all interviews with officers, witnesses and those who file complaints.
“We agreed that we would file this with the court to give the judge some idea of what the process was going to look like, and we’ll see going into the end of the year where we’re at,” said Greg White, who manages consent decree compliance for the city. “Hopefully we’ll accomplish what’s in this document and more.”
The city, the monitor and the Justice Department will receive progress reports every other week.
“While the scope of progress that OPS must make to comply with the Consent Decree is more substantial than the milestones outlined here,” monitor Matthew Barge wrote in the court filing, “the milestones are intended to provide specific, measurable guideposts to assist OPS in meeting existing requirements.”