Cleveland Police CEOs Connect With Communities To Prevent Crime

Members of the Cleveland Police Dept.'s Community Engagement Officers [Mark Urycki / ideastream]
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The Cleveland police department Thursday introduced 15 new positions on the force that it calls CEOs. Three Community Engagement Officers will be assigned to each district. 

Chief Calvin Williams says the officers will get to know the community down at the street level. 

“One of their main functions is to go out and hear what the community has to say,” explained Williams. “To attend the community meetings, the block club meetings, the community functions, the schools, the rec centers and really hear what people have to say. And try to assist the community in solving -if they have issues.” 

Their task, whether it’s by car or bicycle or foot, is to get to know their neighbors.

“If we get a call and you can’t come to the district we go to you,” said Third District CEO Rashawn Rahim. “If that’s at McDonalds, that’s on a corner, if that’s at a gas station that’s where we go.”

Kerry Adams and Lyniece Turner will be working in the First District.

“I absolutely love this job. It’s great to work with the county before they’re in crisis,” said Adams.

Turner added, “(We're) (t)rying to get them at a young age, trying to bridge this gap between us and them so they understand we’re human.” 

Carmen Hall in the Fourth District is a 17-year veteran of the force.

“I really like this strategy because it’s a crime prevention strategy,” Hall said.

For Sabrina Walker, the Fifth District CEO job in Cleveland’s northeastern neighborhoods brings her home.

“The highlight of the position for me has been that I’m able to police the same community where I grew up,” said Walker. “It gives me an opportunity to give back to the community – the same community that invested in me.”

Chief Williams added that the positive community engagement between officers and young people will help the city attract future police and firefighters.

The outreach fits into the Department’s Community and Problem-Oriented Policing plan to fulfill a federal consent decree. But Mayor Frank Jackson says the idea was hatched before the police reform agreement with the US Justice Department and is using federal funds from 2015. 

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