- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Many small law enforcement agencies operating within Cleveland will get some of the training city police officers are required to receive through a federal consent decree.

The city and federal government had reached an agreement in May after the Justice Department concluded last December following an 18-month investigation that Cleveland officers too often use excessive force and violate people’s civil rights. The consent decree calls for increased accountability by police, bias-free policing and improved relationship with residents.

City police officials have offered to include the departments in the extra training because they want people to know they’ll be treated the same in Cleveland, regardless of the department, Cleveland.com reported (https://bit.ly/1NqTRFv ).

“These are people that work in our city,” Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Joellen O’Neill said. “We should all be on the same page on certain things.”

The settlement with the U.S. Justice Department doesn’t apply to smaller transit, hospital and university departments in the city. But experts said it’s smart to include them in the training.

“I think a lot of these smaller, specialized police departments may not have the best training,” said Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska and a police reform expert. “It’s good that they all work from the same playbook.”

City police currently have mutual aid agreements with police at Case Western Reserve University, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Cleveland clinic, Greater Cleveland RTA and Cleveland State University. There are about a dozen law enforcement agencies operating in Cleveland.

Spokespeople for the police departments at Greater Cleveland RTA and Case Western Reserve University said they plan to take advantage of the opportunity.


Information from: cleveland.com, https://www.cleveland.com

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