A Cleveland City Council committee will interview Mayor Justin Bibb’s nominees for the Community Police Commission this week as the city moves forward with Issue 24 mandates designed to strengthen police oversight.
The Mayor’s Appointments Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. Friday to interview the 10 candidates. After the interviews, the next step would be for the committee to make a recommendation to City Council on whether or not to approve the nominees. City Council would then make a resolution to approve all 13 commission nominees – three nominated by council and 10 by the mayor – and the new community police commission would be seated. This could happen as early as Monday, Dec. 5.
The passage of Issue 24 mandated the city create a new commission. Police and other Issue 24 opponents said the city had already made major changes to comply with the 2015 consent decree between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The previous commission made non-binding recommendations to the police chief and the public safety director, who had the final say in police discipline. Issue 24 shifts the oversight of the Cleveland Division of Police, including shifting policy and discipline to the civilian-led commission. The new commission will have the final authority on what disciplinary actions should be taken when officer misconduct is reported.
Issue 24 also detailed who should be represented in the new commission, including: someone who represents or understands issues of limited English speakers; people with mental illness, substance use disorder or who have experienced homelessness; someone who has been directly impacted by police violence or the family member of someone who has been killed by police; gun violence survivors or the family member of someone fatally shot; and at least one member between 18 and 30 years old.
Council Member Joe Jones, chair of the Mayor’s Appointment Committee, said there’s a “99.9 percent” likelihood the committee will recommend the approval of all of the mayor’s candidates.
Piet van Lier, senior researcher with Policy Matters Ohio and one of the nominees, said he hopes the commission will work toward a goal of keeping everybody in the community safe while acknowledging that policing is a stressful job.
He said it’s important for Cleveland residents to be involved in police oversight and to work together toward shared goals.
“I care a lot about what happens here,” van Lier said. “And I think we need to be doing everything we can to keep everyone safe and to protect each other as neighbors and as fellow residents in the city.”
Cleveland Documenters will be live-tweeting the meetings and taking notes.
10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2
City Hall, Mercedes Cotner Committee Room 217
601 Lakeside Ave E, Cleveland, OH 44114
You can watch nominee interviews live streamed on the Cleveland City Council’s YouTube Channel