Associate Dean and Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich appeared in a News Channel 5 story about the progress of the Cleveland Division of Police under the federal consent decree. He explained, for example, that the CDP used to have a huge backlog of civilian complaints that were never resolved. Today, in contrast, that backlog is gone and civilian complaints are addressed and resolved.
Professor Witmer-Rich also emphasized they key role of rebuilding trust:
“The very beginning of the Consent Decree talked about trust between the community and the police,” said Witmer-Rich. “That’s really the fundamental issue here, is trust. When you have trust between a community and its police department, you can have mistakes made on either side and you can still have a functioning relationship and you can move forward. But when there’s a really severe breakdown in trust, and that was definitely the case, then it’s very hard to have a well-functioning police department.”