At the City Club of Cleveland forum held November 4, 2022, Cleveland Police officials talked about how they are working to improve police response and engagement in our neighborhoods–particularly high-crime regions where empathy is most needed to de-escalate situations.
This cultural transformation initiative was funded through The Lozick Family Foundation and The Cleveland Police Foundation.
The goal has been for the Cleveland Police District to foster more empathy through cultural transformation and systems change from within, not training from the outside. They created a new leadership model in the Cleveland Police Fourth District and launched internal Innovation Teams, as well as the first employee engagement survey in the 160-year history of the police department. Top of the list in responses was a desire for increased community engagement, removal of tedious and repetitive paperwork, and a focus on officer mental health.
The result of the culture shift: Use of force decreased, citizen complaints were down, and officer transfers increased back into District 4. Now, three of the five districts are using the program.
It started with a phone call to Jackie Acho from Cleveland Police Detective Christopher Gibbons. He said, “I think we have a problem with empathy, can you help us?” Jackie was the President of the Acho Group, a strategy and leadership consulting firm whose 2014 TEDx talk – A Good Day’s Work Requires Empathy caught Detective Gibbons’ attention. To most, this seemed like an unlikely partnership, but Acho and Gibbons got to work.
We invite you to view the video above.
Community Advocate and Volunteer; Ward 6 Precinct Committee Member
Detective, Cleveland Division of Police
Commander, Fourth District, Cleveland Division of Police
Dan Moulthrop, CEO, The City Club of Cleveland