Cleveland.com turned to Attorney Ian Friedman for insight as they report on the forthcoming reform to the Shaker Heights Police Department. The agreement between the Shaker Heights City Council and its residents stemmed from Ethan Khorana, a 17-year-old who created the Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing Movement to prevent and reduce police inequities. The movement alleged Shaker Heights police ticket Black drivers 3 times more than white drivers.
The agreement involves:
- A community-wide “Listening Project.” The city will participate in citywide discussions on policing policies and practices designed and facilitated by an independent third-party facilitator or consultant. The city estimates that a contract with a consultant will be finalized in February.
- The expansion of a mental health program. The department will have a crisis intervention team with multiple members available 24 hours a day. Through next year, the city plans to discuss the budget and potential funding sources for the program with its police dispatch center.
- A community advisory group. It will meet with the mayor and safety director, as well as the police chief and City Council. In early 2024, the city plans to begin looking for volunteers for the group.
- Public records. Records from the police department will be posted online to make access easier for the public. This includes demographic data and other information. According to a tentative timeline, records from 2020 through 2023 will be uploaded online in September 2024.
Attorney Friedman comments:
"Shaker Heights should be looked at as a role model for other municipalities. Can I answer whether or not (other cities) are going to do it? No, of course not everybody’s doing it,” he said. “Should everybody sit down and have these discussions and formulate change where both sides can agree that something can be done in the better interest of the community? Absolutely. That should be done. And it should have been done yesterday.”
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