CPD recertification getting underway

By BRIAN GRAVES

Posted 3/7/18

The CALEA recertification process for the Cleveland Police Department started with high praise from a top city official.

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CPD recertification getting underway

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The CALEA recertification process for the Cleveland Police Department started with high praise from a top city official.

The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies began its on-the-ground assessment process with a public meeting Tuesday afternoon at the Police Services Center.

Chief Mark Gibson recently told the Cleveland Daily Banner the department was striving to achieve the commission’s “gold standard” accreditation during what is now the department’s third CALEA evaluation.

Chief Phil Crowell of the Auburn, Maine, police department, is leading the CALEA team during its Cleveland visit. He was joined in the public meeting by and Lt. Jeffrey Dobson of the Culpepper, Virginia, police department.

“The Cleveland Police Department has voluntarily contracted with the commission to work toward reaccreditation, thereby continuing to demonstrate its professional excellence,” Crowell said.

CPD Lt. Scott Bronze has been appointed by Gibson as the department’s accreditation manager.

Although the public was invited to attend and give comments, only three in the very small audience spoke to the two CALEA members.

Vice Mayor Avery Johnson was the first to the podium, and waxed positive about the department now in place.

“When I first got on the city council, one of the first things I did was l looked around and see how diverse all of the departments were — especially the police department,” Johnson recalled.

“I started talking about diversity years and years ago, and also wanted to look at some of the things you hear in the community, like profiling,” he said. “But in the process I have gotten to know the chief of police — especially our chief, Mark Gibson and his staff — and instead of focusing on a whole lot of the things that you usually hear about, I’m not hearing those things anymore.”

“What we are doing is working programs out,” Johnson added, citing his work with the 100 Black Men Inc. organization. “We talk to at-risk kids and we have been able to form a partnership to talk to kids and help kids.”

Johnson said his two sons were always scared of the police.

“It’s not like that anymore because the police actually came to my driveway and talked to my kids,” he said. “We established a good relationship and now my kids are friends of the police and look at them in a different way.”

“This department in Cleveland is one of the best police departments you will find anywhere in the state,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t say that if it wasn’t true. I would tell you things I think they need to work on. But, they are headed so much in the right direction.”

Johnson said when he sees the officers in the community, “I see they are out there helping people, as much as they are stopping people for violations. I am really impressed with that.”

“I used to get a lot of calls about this and that concerning the police, but I don’t get those calls anymore,” he said. “Usually, they are compliments.”

Johnson said he had the option of giving his opinions in writing or by calling in.

“But I felt so strongly about this police department, I felt like I should show up and express my appreciation for everything they are doing,” he said.

City Manager Joe Fivas echoed Johnson’s remarks.

“We view your presence here as trying to make our department, our staff and our city better,” Fivas said. “We are fully on board and want to have the best organization we can have. I can’t say enough about our officers, their dedication and the professionalism which I am sure you will here more about as you move forward in your process.”

Retired Cleveland Utilities President Ken Webb noted the cooperation over the years between CU and CPD.

“I know it is the same now as it was then, how much we appreciated the police department whether it would be a program we were having on safety and security for employees or if the need came up when we needed their assistance,” Webb said. “They were always ready and willing to help us.”

“I think the department has really moved forward over the last few years and I think the citizens are taking note of it,” he said.

Cleveland City School Director of Student Services Doug Moore commented on the CPD’s role in the city schools.

“I am the liaison to the SRO program and I want to say how impressive our SROs are in our school system and the relationship we have with those police officers,” Moore said. “We have one in every school. The Cleveland Police Department’s dedication to that program is instrumental in our school system and we sure appreciate that.”

Crowell interjected that he has been doing these accreditations for many years, “but I have never seen a community that has a SRO in every school.”

“You should be commended for having that as a priority for your community,” Crowell said.

For those who could not attend Tuesday’s session, the public may offer comments by calling 423-559-3389 between 1 and 3 p.m. today.

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