Police Use of Force

The use of force work group is actively contacting various police departments in Northeast Ohio and inquiring about their use of force policy.  After we review a department’s policy and compare it with PERF’s (Police Executive Research Forum) Guiding Principles On Use of Force, we then begin monitoring that department’s use of force incidents on an ongoing basis.

There are over 80 city, village, township police departments and Sheriff’s departments in Northeast Ohio.  41 of these departments are currently being monitored by 30 SURJ members of our working group.

We are encouraging members of SURJ to join our effort as we continue to inquire and monitor police use of force.  You can find guidelines for investigating your municipality’s Use of Force Policy here: Initial Inquiry Guidelines.



Goals and Objectives
Use of Force Policy Inquiries

Eliminate police department bias policing practices and excessive use of force and promote an
awareness within police departments that their use of force behaviors are being monitored.


  • Contact all local law enforcement agencies on the east side of Cleveland.
  • Encourage other SURJ members on the west side to do the same.
  • Create awareness of our monitoring efforts.
  • Participate in the SURJ Cleveland Community Police Commission work group.


  • Contact police departments and request their Use of Force Policy
  • Once received, review the policy using the PERF 21st Century progressive policing
  • Make notes of similarities and differences with the policy and PERF’s recommendations.
  • Request other documents if necessary, i.e. disciplinary procedures, use of force report forms, etc.
  • Request the most recent releasable use of force report.
  • Review the report looking for bias policing, excessive use of force, violation of policy.
  • Make repeated periodic requests and note any trends.
  • If negative trends are identified, develop a formal response in consultation with other SURJ
  • If appropriate and it makes sense politically, share the similarities and differences of
    departmental policy and PERF’s recommendations with the respective police department. Two suggestions that can be made that would be helpful – 1.) post releasable use of force incident reports online and 2.) apply for certification with the Ohio Collaborative Community Police Advisory Board.


Much of the work for this group can be done remotely, especially if group members can have a quick check-in at the general SURJ meetings, the first Thursday of every month at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River.

If you have any questions or concerns about the process or would like to get involved, please contact Dave Lima at dlima@sbcglobal.net