By: Jenna Thomas
In early fall semester of 2020, President Harlan Sands launched his CSU 2.0 plan which established a series of task forces to review different aspects of the university including academics, athletics, and the campus police department. On February 12th, the university released their findings in a final report.
Members of the CSUPD Review Task Force include:
- Dr. Ronnie Dunn – Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Division of Diversity, Inclusion & University Engagement
- Lee Fisher Dean – Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
- Hassan Aden – 21st Century Police, Consultant
- Renee Betterson – President, CSU Student Government Association
- Marc Byrnes – Chairman Emeritus, Oswald Companies
- Phyllis Seven Harris – Executive Director, LGBT Center Cleveland
- Dr. Stephanie Kent – Professor, Sociology
- Rev. Dr. Stephen Rowan, Esq. – Senior Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church
- Victor Ruiz – Executive Director, Esperanza
- Roger Smith, Esq. – Administrator, Office of Professional Standards, City of Cleveland
- Sean Smoot – 21st Century Police, Consultant
- Chief Anthony Traska – Cleveland State University Police Department
The task force was comprised of four subcommittees that focused on policy & training, data analysis, community engagement, and accountability & oversight. The 43-page final report analyzes arrest trends, explains police procedures and policies, and makes recommendations for reform. There are five major recommendations outlined in the report:
- Revise all use-of-force policies to include de-escalation and prohibit choke holds unless deadly force is necessary.
- Strengthen CSUPD’s commitment to bias-free police practices to include principles of equity, respect, courtesy, and professionalism. This includes updating policy language to prohibit the use of any sociodemographic characteristic as the basis for a traffic stop, collecting uniform demographic data on traffic stops, and creating guidance for interactions with transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people.
- Require CSUPD sworn officers that are equipped with a body camera to be recording at all times except for a few exceptions.
- Provide ongoing training for officers that cover bias-free policing, cultural competency, de-escalation, weaponization of complaints against persons of color, and more.
- Strengthen public safety by installing comprehensive camera coverage, increase visible uniformed police presence in residence halls, investing more into un-sworn security officers, and create a public awareness campaign around the weaponization of police against persons of color.
Based on these recommendations, the email from the President outlined the path forward.
“In the coming weeks and months, Chief Anthony Traska, with the full support of our university leadership team, will be working across campus to communicate our responses to this report and explain how this important work will help us keep our campus safe and further advance CSU as a national campus policing model.”