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Cleveland mayor picks panel for selecting members of community policing commission

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CLEVELAND — Two pastors and directors of an LGBT center and a community development group are part of an 11-person panel that will select a commission who will be responsible for making recommendations on how Cleveland police officers can build better relationships with the communities they serve.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced his picks for the selection panel on Tuesday.

The city and U.S. Justice Department agreed in May to the terms of a consent decree that aims to make Cleveland police officers problem solvers who are free from bias in how they do their jobs. The DOJ issued a report in December that said an investigation had found that Cleveland police too often use force and violate people's rights.

The selection panel has 60 days to pick 10 members for a community policing commission. Other selection panel members include: the chairman of the Cuyahoga County drug, alcohol and mental health board; the head of Cleveland's Legal Aid Society; the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League; the director of a Hispanic organization; the president of Cuyahoga Community College; the director of a child policy center at Case Western Reserve University; and the president of the Cleveland Foundation.

The 13-member commission will also include a representative from each of Cleveland's three police unions.

The selection panel is independent of the city and DOJ, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said at a news conference Tuesday. The panel will create a process to allow people who want to serve on the commission to submit applications within the next 30 days, Dettelbach said.

The commission will set a tone for "repairing and improving the relationship between the police and people in the community," Dettelbach said. He said it's significant that community members and police officers will be part of the same group.

"They'll have to learn to work together over time," he added

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