Office in charge of handling citizen complaints against CPD continues to show 'lack of progress'

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Office of Professional Standards, which reviews and investigates citizen complaints made against the Cleveland Police Department, is back in hot water.

A report was released Wednesday that details just how inept the office is. News 5 has reported on the severe backlog of cases, hundreds that have piled up since 2014, with no resolution. It looks like that backlog has gotten even worse.

In a scathing report released by the Cleveland Police Monitoring team, the Office of Professional Standards is falling far short of mandates established by the Department of Justice's Consent Decree when it comes to handling citizen complaints of the Cleveland Police Department.

The report says the monitoring team was "frustrated by OPS's lack of progress," siting "systematic failures," that will prevent timely "compliance with the Consent Decree."

Late last year, Damon Scott was removed from his position as the head of the OPS. The office is currently operating without a head and, according to the monitoring team, is drowning in citizen complaints.

The city is now promising to hire a third party firm in the coming months to take on some of the OPS case load.

"It's evident that the office of professional standards has been mismanaged for quite a period of time," said Dr. Ronnie Dunn, an Urban Studies Professor at Cleveland State University. 

Dunn has studied the OPS's shortcomings for years. The role the office plays, he says, is an important one in guaranteeing citizens' voices are heard, and that police are held accountable.

"It doesn't instill much confidence in the public, in the citizenry that their complaints are taken seriously," he said.

A new head of OPS is expected to be hired in the coming months.

The city will be picking a new firm to help cut down on OPS case loads in the next several weeks.

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