(TNS) — A monitor tracking the city of Cleveland’s progress under a consent decree has given the OK to a plan to upgrade the police department’s technology.
The plan focuses on the ways the city will ensure that the police department keeps up to date with its technology and equipment. It sets up an IT strategy to ensure equipment is upgraded and maintained, and seeks to hold employees accountable for doing so.
The plan calls for the city to spend more than $27 million in equipment and upgrades between 2018 and 2023, and nearly $2.6 million annually to operate and maintain the equipment and software. Greg White, the city’s consent decree coordinator, said this plan includes rolling out new laptop and desktop computers to be used by officers on the street and in the police districts and headquarters.
Police monitor Matthew Barge wrote in a court filing last week that the new plan met the requirements the city agreed to under a consent decree it reached with the Justice Department in 2015. Barge asked U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. to approve the new plan.
The equipment and resource plan, a key portion of the consent decree, is a long time in the making. It emerged out of the Justice Department’s finding that police officers were too often using outdated equipment and police cars, and were forced to perform tasks such as filling out reports by hand instead of using computers.
The plan, at least as it pertains to patrol officers, is meant to give the city a roadmap to allow officers to spend more time on the street. As with many portions of the consent decree, though, it took a few tries for the city to complete it.
The city first submitted an equipment and resource plan in 2016, but Barge and his team rejected it for being overly vague and not outlining the department’s specific needs. The original version of the plan also did not provide deadlines for addressing those needs, and Barge noted that Cleveland’s equipment was decades behind departments in other major cities.
City officials revised the plan, and the monitoring team approved a portion of a new plan in 2017. The revisions related to upgrading the department’s computer-aided dispatch system and buying new patrol cars.
Upgrading the police department’s equipment is one of the most costly components of the consent decree, as the city has committed to spending millions of dollars for upgrades over several years.
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