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Cleveland Community Police Commission candidate critical of selection process

Candidate questions transparency of process
Cleveland police
Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 18:17:17-04

CLEVELAND — It was last November when voters approved a fresh start with civilian oversight with Issue 24.

But we could hit the year anniversary before the new Community Police Commission can even begin its work.

No one has been picked yet and the interview process recently wrapped in late July.

Two candidates have expressed concerns to News 5 investigators about transparency and when the new commissioners can get to work.

News 5 sat down with one of the candidates, LOH.

“How long have you been in Cleveland?”

“Long enough to know the community needs the help, the sooner the better,” said LOH, a community activist and candidate for the Community Police Commission.

It’s been nearly 10 months since voters approved Issue 24. The new Community Police Commission hasn’t been seated.

“This is how efficient, how government in general is. This is the reason why in the community we have a crisis,” said LOH.

The city interviewed 34 candidates narrowed down from a pool of nearly 300 hundred applicants.

LOH was interviewed July 5.

“The reason why I wanted to go to the process is to see if this is as good as we hoped when we voted yes for Issue 24,” LOH said.

People could watch the interviews live via Zoom or later on recordings. But LOH couldn’t find them and neither could we.

“So where’s the transparency?” asked LOH.

“So we don’t have them posted online,” said Delante Thomas, Cleveland’s chief ethics officer.

News 5 investigators asked Thomas, who’s heading up the selection pane, about the transparency concerns.

“We wanted to make sure this process was open and it was transparent and it’s part of the reason why I have been involved in this process as a chief ethics officer,” Thomas said.

We asked Thomas if the public should have easy access to the recordings if they wanted to watch what’s going on.

“Well I don’t necessarily believe it’s difficult access, right, again it’s available by request, but it’s in releases that it's ultimately made available,” said Thomas.

Ten people will be nominated by Mayor Justin Bibb and three by city council. The mayor will then appoint all 13 who will still need council approval. The city says the public will get an announcement in late September or early October.

The city says the candidates are now undergoing extensive vetting.

“Assuming we can identify who we’re looking at or narrow that down, that's who we’ll focus our background check process on,” said Thomas.

We asked LOH how confident she is that she will be selected.

“I don’t think I’ll be selected, I’m not the preferred type. If we are not say yes, that type of people,” said LOH.

Thomas says that isn’t the case. “We’re not looking for the yes people or even just the all no people right, we want people who can access situations and can think critically and be able to address very serious concerns and issues,” said Thomas.

We asked Thomas what he would say to people who may wonder why it’s taking so long.

“This is a very high priority for the administration and we have to get this right. And it’s important that we take our time,” said Thomas.

LOH says she asked during her interview when the new commissioners would get to begin their work.

“This is a time where we should hurry up to repair and improve,” said LOH.

Thomas says up to three members will be representatives of police associations and can be a current police officer, two members who represent civil rights organizations and at least one who is knowledgeable or aware of the wrongfully incarcerated, mental health and familiar with working with the homeless.

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