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Chief Williams talks progress after latest consent decree report

Cleveland Police Monitoring Team issues report
Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 23:27:19-05

CLEVELAND — A reduction in crime and fewer use of force incidents highlight the latest Cleveland police monitoring report.

"It's always good news when we are meeting and exceeding the metrics," said Chief Calvin Williams in reaction to this week's release of the semi-annual consent decree report.

Cleveland's consent decree with the Department of Justice came after the DOJ studied hundreds of use of force cases in Cleveland. In 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Cleveland and laid out the problems.

"There is reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland Division of Public Police engages in a pattern and practice of using excessive force," said Holder at a 2014 news conference.

"When people come into your house and try to tell you the things you are doing wrong and what you need to fix you are taken a back a little," said Chief Williams. "There were definitely things we weren't doing in a proper manner and we acknowledge that."

Now the statistics tell a different story.

Major crimes dropped in ever major category, except rape. Use of force incidents dropped 29 percent since 2017.

"Use of forces are down, injuries are down to both officers and subjects and crime is down in the last year and a half," said Chief Williams.

Cleveland now has two academy classes in the pipeline, which will increase staffing levels. The Chief is also hopeful the court will approve the department's new community and problem oriented policing program.

The improved statistics and the launch of new initiatives could lead to a turning point in the department, according to the report, which states, "this is the point at which paper must be turned into sustained, ongoing practice."

"The process allows us to correct the things we were doing wrong to deliver better service out there and make our officers safer," said Chief Williams.

View the full report below: