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Community Police Commission Cracks Down on Meeting Attendance and Expectations

Consent decree chief Matthew Barge

The Cleveland Community Police Commission asked one of its members to resign after he failed to attend a series of meetings. He said no. As Ohio Public Radio’s Annie Wu reports, the commission is working on a new set of bylaws aimed at improving and enforcing attendance.

The letter to Steve Loomis, president of the police patrolmen’s union, says he was absent from many commission meetings and work groups over several months. Under the city’s police reform agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, a police union representative must serve on the commission. Loomis refused to resign.

Matthew Barge is the federal monitor overseeing Cleveland’s consent decree.  He says he’s spoken with Loomis and the rest of the commission about poor attendance which, according to the group’s annual report, is a problem for at least six of its 13 members.

"Everybody’s gotta show up," Barge says. "They need to be the experts who know a little bit more than the average resident about police policy and procedure. And if commissioners are not talking to each other, not showing up to meetings, regardless of who they are, they can’t do that job."

To address the problem, the commission has been working on new bylaws that define attendance expectations and a procedure for removing members if they’re chronically absent.

The group approved the bylaws earlier this month.