New officer training rolls out in Cleveland

This month saw exciting developments in the Policing Project’s work with the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team on the implementation of the federal consent decree between the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) and the Department of Justice. 

Earlier this month, the Monitoring Team approved the CDP’s curriculum for its 2018 In-Service Training for all officers. The training went live on July 17.

The new training builds upon the completion (or near finalization) of key policies and plans, including bias-free policing and crisis intervention. Later in the year, the CDP will finalize its Community and Problem-Oriented Policing Plan after a summer-long period of public input.

New Officer Training

Of course, policies on paper are only as good as how they are put into practice. For that reason, the Policing Project worked with the City of Cleveland, the CDP, the DOJ, and the Monitoring Team to ensure the training materials provide clear guidance for officers. These materials also set appropriate expectations to which officers in Cleveland will be held to account.

The approved curriculum addresses critical subjects required by the Consent Decree, including crisis intervention, community engagement and problem-solving, and bias-free policing.

Altogether, the CDP’s 2018 In-Service Training is designed to enhance officers’ ability to:

  • Interact with and assist individuals experiencing mental health crises
  • Engage with members of the public to identify and solve public safety concerns
  •  Improve their own decision-making by minimizing the effects of implicit bias

Crisis Intervention

Included in the 2018 curriculum is a 4-hour Crisis Intervention Training, designed to provide specific instruction for officers responding to individuals in mental health crises, including alternatives to arrest.

These alternatives may include referral to an appropriate mental health agency or voluntarily transport to a hospital or crisis center. The training also covers situations where it may be necessary to involuntarily transport an individual to a hospital or crisis center or to make an arrest.

The training also covers officers’ own mental health including:

  • How trauma can impact law enforcement officers
  • The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • How to access resources for help within the CDP and in the Cleveland community

Community Engagement and Problem-Solving

Also included in the new curriculum is an 8-hour Community Engagement and Problem-Solving Training for guidance on foundational principles of community policing.

In this module, officers will review how to:

  • Communicate and engage with Cleveland residents
  • Seek partnerships with community members and organizations
  • Develop collaborative solutions to public safety problems

This training provides all officers with skills that will be critical as the CDP finalizes its Community and Problem-Oriented Policing Plan, which is currently receiving community input.

Bias-Free Policing

Finally, the 12-hour Bias-Free Policing Training helps CDP officers to understand forms of biased policing and the ways in which biased policing obstructs the goals of law enforcement. This training prepares officers to minimize the occurrence of biased policing by identifying and managing moments where their own decision-making may be susceptible to implicit bias.

The bias-free policing training was designed with assistance from the Center for Policing Equity, a research center that has developed and conducted evidence-based procedural justice trainings across the country.

Our Ongoing Work in Cleveland

Throughout the summer of 2018, Cleveland residents will have numerous opportunities to provide feedback on major CDP plans such as its Community and Problem-Oriented Plan and its Recruitment and Hiring Plan.

As always, the Policing Project will be working with the Monitoring Team to ensure that residents’ thoughts and concerns are reflected in the final policies and practices.