For all the anger and mistrust swirling around the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the release of a critical U.S. Department of Justice report on the use of excessive force by Cleveland police, voices are being raised in clear expectation that meaningful change can be achieved.
These voices come from within the community and from City Hall, where Mayor Frank Jackson has become increasingly forthright about his determination to negotiate a meaningful and -- from his perspective -- fair consent decree with the Justice Department.
The public's input is equally important, and it is heartening to see the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a collection of faith communities, join the dialogue over police reform. They've made a number of recommendations they would like included in a consent decree.
"We see a chance to seize an opportunity, an opportunity to shape changes within the Cleveland police department," Louise McKinney of the Greater Cleveland Congregations said last month during a gathering at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, where her organization handed over its proposals to Jackson and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.
Many of the GCC's suggestions make sense, including a greater push toward bias-free policing, more diversity on the police force, improved hiring practices and a commitment from both the Justice Department and the city to help pay for the much-needed reforms.