CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The city of Cleveland has released the findings of an outside commission formed by Mayor Frank Jackson to look at how city cops handle missing person cases.
The Commission's final report is a thorough review of the city's policies, procedures and responses to missing persons and sex crime investigations. The group hopes the 26 recommendations will create systemic change through accountability, operational changes, community relations and public awareness.
[Read the recommendations HERE]
The commission was formed on the heels of the arrest of suspected Cleveland Strangler Anthony Sowell. The bodies of eleven women were found in and around his Imperial Avenue home last November. Many of the victims had been reported missing by concerned family members.
The report identifies appropriate resources to improve the "first point of contact" experience for victims and their families, as well as additional training and operational support to help officers improve quality of service.
A few report highlights include:
- Concentrating staff and resources in the Fusion Center to gather and review Missing Persons data from Cleveland and the five-county region, as well as become the main point of contact for the community in following up on Missing Persons cases;
- Updating the general police orders for both Missing Persons and Sex Crimes Investigations, including best practices from around the nation to become more victim and family-focuses, specify investigative techniques and improve outcomes;
- Expanding the role of the City's Prosecutor's Office to increase current focus on special victims;
- Utilizing the Police Review Board and external agencies to review, audit and access operational change and provide feedback on quality assurance, community perception and caseload management; and,
- Implementing a comprehensive community education campaign to encourage the community to report crimes and missing persons, improve police-community relations ad utilize the medial to help raise awareness of missing persons.