CLEVELAND — Nearly two hundred people are vying for a spot on the new Cleveland Community Police Commission.
"This is historic," Kareem Henton said.
Henton is working on his application.
"We don't need to be an echochamber, it doesn't need to be something looked at like a hit squad but something that's really going to get the job done and bring about some change,” said Henton.
Henton and others who still want to apply have until midnight Monday.
The deadline was extended by the city to reach the minimum goal of 200. Henton thought there would be more people applying for a spot.
"You have such a defeated population here, it's hard for them to believe that this is going to work,” Henton said.
Henton was born and raised in the city. He spent the last six years with Black Lives Matter Cleveland.
"As a person who has been involved in solutions just not someone coming from the perspective of complaining but a person who has an honest legitimate critique but also wants to be a part of making that change,” Henton said.
There are 13 seats on the commission created by voters last November after approving Issue 24 which boosted civilian oversight.
Members will investigate police misconduct and make decisions about police training, recruitment and discipline.
"The charter created commission creates an opportunity for the city of Cleveland to be a model in how we engage in policing,” said Ayesha Bell Hardaway, associate professor of law at Case Western Reserve.
Bell Hardaway says there will need to be training for commissioners to understand policing.
"Commissioners selected to do this work who come to this space open and ready to gain the requisite and understanding about what it means to oversee a police department in the 21st century," said Bell Hardaway.
Tim Dimoff, with SACS Consulting and Investigative Services, spent decades in law enforcement.
"There's going to be apprehension and cautiousness amongst law enforcement,” said Dimoff.
Dimoff says that can be put to rest by vetting applicants.
"We need to know what their background is and what are their experience with police and law enforcement in the past and we need to know if they've had some negative encounters with police,” said Dimoff.
Teri Wang also wants a spot on the commission. She says a personal experience with police after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a landlord left her feeling empowered.
"The ordeal actually took an hour. I had to convince these officers to take a simple report. I had to call out their Sgt in order to get through this process. It showed me things that could be improved and that were surprising to me,” said Wang.
The city plans to release the applicant list and evaluation process in the next week. Those selected would still need city council approval.
"In all of this it's about our personal experiences. It's not just about what we think about the police but when you counter and have interactions with police both positive and negative it gives you insight on what needs to be done,” said Wang.
News 5 reached out to the FOP for comment, but did not hear back.
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