Cleveland awarded Excellence in Police Services

By involving the community in policing efforts, seeking new and varied training opportunities, and building a culture of wellness within the department, the Cleveland Police Department (CPD) has worked to provide the best service possible to the city’s residents.

In recognition of the efforts made by the CPD to continue officer education, promote relationships between the department and citizens, and improve both physical and mental health for officers, the Tennessee Municipal League is pleased to present the city of Cleveland with an award for Excellence in Police Services.

Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson has focused on creating a culture of professionalism through creative police recruitment strategies, continuous training and encouraging a high degree of integrity to serve the citizens of Cleveland. To improve its relationship with Cleveland’s citizens, the department established a Community Relations Unit whose goal is to increase interaction with the community through events and creative methods of communication.

The Cleveland Police Department has amassed more than 35,000 followers on social media, using social platforms to improve communications, reach more residents, and build a strong foundation for community relations. The department also hosts an average of 46 community events a year.

One of the most popular events is the Youth Police Academy, which has been held 13 times over the years to introduce students to policing. The department has also become involved in special events and fundraising in the community such as No Shave November, the Empty Stocking Fund Pledge drive, and numerous fundraisers for officers and community members.

To gather diverse opinions on a variety of law enforcement topics, the department formed a Professional Standards and Ethics Committee who provides guidance on all matters affecting professional standards for law enforcement. Additionally, the Chief’s Advisory Board is comprised of officers from each division who serve as a liaison for their respective team.

CPD has also created a culture of continuing education by creating a training program that provides classes year around. As a result, more than 1,500 hours of specialized training is offered not only to Cleveland officers but also outside agencies who want to participate. These training hours are offered in addition to the minimum 40-hours of required training by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.

In the past year, Cleveland officers have completed over 220 specialized classes, focusing on investigations, de-escalation, mental health, crime scene management, and realistic scenario training.

All officers are required to complete core training classes to be eligible for a promotion. The caliber of training offered to the officers further advance them in their progression plan of professional career development.

Building a culture of wellness – both physical and mental – has also been a major goal of the CPD. A fitness program was developed requiring a physical fitness test with successful completion annually. To assist the officer in preparing for the assessment, designated officers serve as fitness instructors and will provide nutrition plans and job-related cardiovascular exercises. A holistic wellness approach to address officer mental health provides Cleveland police officers with annual suicide prevention and PTSD classes, along with centralized mental health resources, the Employee Assistance Program and a rotational Chaplain Unit.

The Cleveland Police Department has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 2009 and the Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation (TLEA) since 2012. Only 4% of law enforcement agencies nationwide are CALEA accredited and in 2018, the CPD received the Gold Standard of Excellence, the highest award within CALEA. As a result, the CPD is within the top 1% of CALEA-accredited agencies.