Nonprofit executive and Cleveland Mayoral candidate Justin Bibb has officially endorsed the ballot initiative launched last month by Citizens for a Safer Cleveland
that would amend the city of Cleveland's charter to create stronger civilian oversight of the division of police.
“Police misconduct has cost the City of Cleveland nearly $30 million over the last decade in settlement payments," Bibb said in a press release. "We have a moral obligation to create a system of accountability that is truly independent."
During a mayoral forum
last week, Bibb emphasized the importance of civilian oversight as a means to improve police accountability. He said that supporting an independent oversight board was one of three public safety priorities he'd pursue immediately if elected. The other two were ending cash bail and working to decriminalize traffic violations.
"We don't need criminal justice reform," he said at the event. "We need complete criminal justice transformation."
In a conversation with Scene Wednesday, Bibb said that he believed it was crucial, in order to achieve the goals envisioned by the consent decree, to root out the "culture of complacency" on the police force and "embed long-lasting systemic change."
He said that he has been studying best practices and various police reform models in cities around the country. He referenced, as he did at last week's forum, the potential of a "co-responder model," in which social workers are deployed alongside police officers on emergency calls.
"But the civilian oversight board could be a great first step," he said. "Cleveland really could be a national model for something positive in public safety. It's something our residents deserve."
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.