During a Cleveland Community Police Commission meeting on June 14, commission members argued with residents in the audience, debated each other –  and eventually ended the public gathering abruptly. The commission was given broad oversight over police discipline and policy as part of a voter-approved charter amendment. Learn more about the commissioners here.

Cleveland Documenters Monica Doyle and Mildred Seward covered the meeting and had questions about the commission members. 

Documenter Stésià Swain live-tweeted the meeting

What we learned

Are the commissioners elected or appointed?

The 13 members of the Community Police Commission are appointed by Mayor Justin Bibb and approved by Cleveland City Council. Council nominates three of the members. The city involved community members in the process of reviewing the applications in 2022. Applicants also participated in public interviews. 

Commissioners are selected to reflect different racial, social, cultural and economic interests in the city and specific groups touched by police misconduct and community violence. In addition, the commission can have up to three representatives of police associations such as the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association or The Black Shield Police Association. 

Are commissioners paid for their work?

Yes. Cleveland City Council decides on the yearly pay for commissioners. It is currently set at $8,963. The amount is supposed to be revisited each year based on the Consumer Price Index, which looks at inflation.  

Can commissioners be disciplined or punished for their behavior?

Cleveland’s laws give the mayor power to remove any member of the commission for “malfeasance, misfeasance, nonfeasance, or gross neglect of duty.” The laws don’t define or give examples of what that might include. 

The mayor can remove members of the commission who represent police associations’ members for any reason. Members of the commission can also remove police association members by a simple majority vote of all members who don’t represent police associations.

For other commission members, the mayor would file a document outlining the reasons for the removal with the City Council Clerk. The commission member can respond to any allegations on their own or through a lawyer and request a public hearing within 30 days. The mayor’s decision is final unless two-thirds of council members vote to reject the removal. 

Do commissioners have limits to the time they can serve?

Commissioners are appointed to serve four-year terms. They cannot serve more than four complete four-year terms.

The first commissioners selected were randomly given staggered two- and four-year terms. Of the current 13 commissioners, seven are serving four-year terms and six are serving two-year terms.

This post has been updated to reflect the current pay for Cleveland Community Police commissioners.

Documenters Community Coordinator (she/her)
Through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections, Anastazia works with Signal Cleveland to support Cleveland Documenters and our community building.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.

Community and Special Projects Editor (she/her)
Rachel leads our special projects work on topics that demand deeper coverage, and works with Cleveland Documenters and Signal staff to report those stories for wider understanding and accountability. She is our liaison with the Marshall Project in Cleveland where she focuses on including residents' voices in criminal justice reporting. Rachel has reported in Cleveland for more than two decades on stories that have changed laws, policies, hearts and minds. She was part of the team that helped launch Cleveland Documenters in 2020, and she was a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow in 2021. Dissell is a two-time winner of the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma for narrative stories about teen dating violence and systemic failures with rape investigations.