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Government and Politics

Report says Cleveland PD has sound deadly force policy
Department says deadly force incidents have dropped 50 percent under Mayor Jackson

Kevin Niedermier
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath describes the external review that shows the city has a sound use-of-deadly-force policy.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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An independent review of the Cleveland Police Department says its policies regarding deadly force are sound. And police officials say the use of deadly force by Cleveland police has dropped since Mayor Frank Jackson took office in 2006.


LISTEN: Changes include policies on firing at suspects' cars

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The Cleveland Police Department commissioned the Police Executive Research Forum in early 2011 to examine how deadly force is handled.

Police Chief Michael McGrath says during the review process, 26 recommendations were made to enhance the operation. So far, 25 have been implemented.

The department’s deadly force training and policies have been regularly adjusted at Mayor Jackson’s request. McGrath says there was an average of about 50 percent fewer deadly force incidents in the first half of this year compared to the same periods over the past seven years. But more needs to be done.

“There are those situations where you’re going to have a problem, we’re not going to bat 100 percent all the time. I understand that, but we’re trying to lower the probability and provide officers with the training, policies and procedures, so that, when they make these decisions, they make the right decisions."

The most recent recommendation implemented prohibits officers from shooting at a suspect’s car, or shooting from a moving police vehicle. Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association President Jeff Follmer says that policy goes too far, and puts officers in danger from suspects using a car as a weapon.

The review started before last November’s massive police chase and shooting, in which two apparently unarmed suspects were killed. An internal review of the incident has led to a firing and several demotions, with more are reprimands possible. Officers involved in the shooting could face criminal charges.

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