ISSUE 24: Will Cleveland become Crazytown?


Of all the terrible ideas to come along, Issue 24, which markets itself as a “police accountability” initiative, might be the very worst.

The ballot language itself is a long and rambling paragraph, but it doesn’t even begin to describe everything that it would affect if passed.

You may think you know what Issue 24 contains, but did you know that:

  1. It forms not one but two commissions, and guarantees them millions of dollars a year, plus guaranteed annual increases?

  2. It gives one of the commissions another huge chunk of money, which the commission gets to give out to its favorite community groups?

  3. These commissions don’t just control police discipline, but they also control ALL police policies, taking away that authority from the actual police chief?

  4. If the commissions don’t feel that a city employee is cooperating with them, they can fire them, including the police chief and even the Mayor??

  5. This proposal was written by lawyers who have made a living out of suing the city, and Issue 24 requires that a member of the commission be an attorney who has sued the city?

  6. Issue 24 specifically overrides any agreement that has been negotiated by an employee union?

There is not a city in America that has enacted a proposal this sweeping or this crazy. What law enforcement professional would want to be the chief of a police department that was run by a group of unaccountable, unelected amateurs with no law enforcement experience, except for attorneys who are paid to sue police departments?

If Issue 24 passes, there is a very real prospect that hundreds of police officers who are eligible for retirement will leave the force as soon as possible. With police recruitment already difficult now, what do you think it will be like when the department is run by a group of activists and plaintiffs lawyers?

Every police department needs to be accountable and have proper oversight, we can all agree on that. The consent decree that the Department of Justice has implemented on CPD is doing that work, and all indications are that it is making some progress. But Issue 24 is something else entirely. We had chaos in the police department in Cleveland in the 1970s, and it did not end well. Issue 24 would turn Cleveland into Crazytown, USA.

Some people supporting Issue 24 are well meaning, but they are being manipulated by its proponents. Even Mayor Jackson, who we have disagreed with many times on many issues, spoke out and said that this defunding of the police would be a disaster for the city, and that those that were exploiting the situation for their political benefit were “tragedy pimps.”

We did not endorse either Kevin Kelley or Justin Bibb in the primary election. But on this most crucial of issues, Bibb has flunked the leadership test. Bibb is loudly for Issue 24, Kelley is strongly against.

Does Bibb realize that if Issue 24 is passed and he were to be elected Mayor, he would have virtually no authority regarding public safety?

If you still aren’t convinced, just read the full Issue 24 charter amendment- all seventeen pages of it.

The consent decree which Cleveland negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice is not perfect, but most agree that progress has been made. But to exchange the consent decree for this wacky proposal that will effectively defund our police department and make us less safe would be a tragic mistake.

It’s decision time, Cleveland, don’t blow it.