An independent team hired to reform the Cleveland Police Department is asking a federal judge for help in creating a fleet replacement plan. Currently, the department lacks a sufficient vehicle replacement plan and uses outdated equipment, according to a court filing.
The Cleveland Police Monitoring Team was brought in after a 2014 Department of Justice investigation found that Cleveland officers used excessive force and committed tactical errors. It also found that many officers did not have the tools to perform their jobs safely and effectively, including vehicles and equipment. In addition to creating new policies and training, the team was tasked with helping the city create an Equipment and Resource Plan.
Earlier this month, the team submitted a court filing, stating that the city has failed to propose a plan that modernizes the fleet. In the two years since the initial investigation, the state of its vehicles has not changed much. According to the filing, Cleveland PD's current benchmark for marked vehicles is 394 patrol cars, but it only has 358 in its fleet. More than one third have over 90,000 miles and 8% of the vehicles were out of service for maintenance over the course of one month.
In many instances, officers lack in-car computers or computer-aided dispatch and must log information on a pen and paper or personal cell phone while talking to a dispatcher over the radio while en route to a call or incident. Afterwards, officers must return to the station to manually write incident reports. With this filing, the team seeks help from the court in getting the city to agree to a specific timetable and process in modernizing its police fleet.
Read the full court filing here.