CPD computers, cars "deficient"

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-02 15:20:58-04

The Cleveland Division of Police has "deficient" equipment and resources and lacks "basic technological innovations," according to a new report released by the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team Thursday.

A Broken System

The team, which oversees changes mandated by the U.S Department of Justice, heavily criticized the police department's records management system (RMS).

The system serves as the "hub" of a police department's day-to-day activities, storing information about arrests and incidents.

According to the report, CPD had a backlog of at least 11,000 records of "incident, arrest, and other police reports"  as of April 20, 2016.

The report said temporary workers reduced the backlog to 7,590 reports as of May 25.

The backlog has caused the city to operate "with incomplete or outdated information about crime and law enforcement activity" because "it is as though these events never happened," said the team.

The report is just the latest revelation about significant issues with the police department's technology.

In May, an exclusive Five On Your Side Investigation revealed serious problems, including chronic 911 system failures, outdated in-car computers, and an inefficient, outdated records system.

 “Antiquated” Computers

In a letter sent to 5 On Your Side Investigator Sarah Buduson, a Cleveland patrol officer called the computer system used in the city’s patrol cars “antiquated.”

The officer said it keeps officers from patrolling the streets and delays the apprehension of dangerous criminals.

Here’s why: Officers cannot send reports from the computers in their cars.  

Instead, officers must return to their district headquarters and manually type up their reports.

Even from their office, the reports can’t be sent electronically to their records system.

The Division of Police still uses fax machines to send reports to a location where a police employee manually enters the information into the city’s records system.

The officer said the process can take hours, even days.

He said the system puts everyone’s safety at risk by leaving officers in the dark about suspects on the loose.

Patrol Cars in "Disrepair"

The report also harshly criticized the state of the police department's fleet.

It said officers' patrol cars are often in "significant levels of disrepair" and officers have to service vehicles on "their own time and dime."

The report said officers sometimes rely on their personal vehicles to do their work, personal mobile phones for communications and record keeping, and said there is an "insufficient number" of computers for patrol officers to complete "shift-to-shift duties."

Consent Decree Background

The monitor team was appointed in October 2015 as part of the consent decree between the City of Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice.

FULL TEXT: Department of Justice, Cleveland leaders announce settlement

The City of Cleveland signed a settlement agreement with the DOJ after an investigation by the department revealed a pattern and practice of Cleveland officers using excessive force and violating people's civil rights.

The city must complete all of the reforms outlined in the 105-page document within three years and then be in compliance for at least two years.