Proposed Charter Amendments would make Shaker Less Safe

Learn more about the City's concerns with a petition to change the City's Charter, which is now being circulated to voters.

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• There is No Crime Surge
Misleading Claims about Bias

Dangerous Implications of the Proposed Charter Amendments

•  Proposal would Eliminate 35 Police Officers
• Oversight Board would take Responsibility, Accountability from Elected Officials
• DEI Office would Cost $420,000 Annually
• 70 Years of Police Records


•  Watch the April 12 Mayor's Report (YouTube)
•  Watch the April 28 Mayor's Report (YouTube)
•  Watch the May 19 Mayor's Report (YouTube)


 Read an April 18 article featuring interviews with the City's Chief of Police, Law Director and Mayor
•  Warch a Fox 8 interview with Chief Hudson

Learn More

• Read frequently asked questions
• Review cost estimates for implementing the charter amendments (PDF)
Read the City's April 12 press release
• Read the text of the proposed charter amendments (PDF)
Submit a question


A new political action committee, Shaker Citizens for Fair Ticketing, is proposing amendments to the City’s Charter, which is equivalent to the City’s constitution, and which would:

  • Make residents and police officers less safe.
  • Drastically cut the Shaker Heights Police Department budget, potentially eliminating half the force.
  • Add a massive, unworkable, and very costly new bureaucracy that undermines the authority and accountability of elected officials, and is in direct conflict with the City’s current Charter.
  • Cost an estimated $7.2 million to establish and $6.1 million per year to operate.
  • Make permanent changes to the City‘s Charter that can only be reversed by a subsequent vote of the residents.

The group is currently circulating a petition to put its proposed Charter amendments on the November 2023 ballot. The petition indicates that the Charter amendments are intended to address three primary issues:

  • to “modernize public safety procedures” claiming a rise in violent crime in Shaker.
  • to “achieve racial equality” in Shaker based on certain statistics that they believe suggest racial bias in our policing.
  • to increase government transparency.

No Crime Surge

With regard to safety, overall, “Part 1” or serious crimes have decreased steadily and significantly in Shaker Heights since the mid-1970s, with the last seven years seeing the lowest numbers of Part 1 crimes since 1959. Despite the proponents’ statements to the contrary, there is no surge in violent crime in Shaker.

Citing Neighbor Scout, the proponents claim Shaker is “now more dangerous than nearly 40% of American cities." However the proponents ignore the subsequent statement by the same source Neighborhood Scout, “… compared to other communities of similar population size, Shaker Heights has a crime rate that is noticeably lower than the average.  This means that for comparably sized cities all across America, Shaker Heights is actually safer than most according to Neighborhood Scout’s exclusive analysis of FBI crime data.”

Misleading Claims About Bias

Regarding the proponents’ other concerns, the City always strives for unbiased policing and greater transparency.  It is a constant focus, with ongoing training and the adoption of best practices, all under the leadership of Police Chief Wayne Hudson, the first African American chief of police in Shaker’s history.

Certain facts and statistics used by the proponents are either incorrect, misleading or used out of context. Regarding the proponents’ claims of bias in ticketing:

  1. In 2022, 16% of tickets were issued to Shaker Heights residents, and 8% of tickets went to African American Shaker residents; 84% of all tickets went to non-Shaker residents. The vast majority of tickets issued in Shaker Heights go to people passing through the City.
  2. From 2020-2022, approximately 52% of all calls for service were from the southwest neighborhoods of the city. Having more officers deployed in this area often means more tickets are issued there. The population in these neighborhoods and in the adjacent neighborhoods in the City of Cleveland is predominantly African American; this is likely to result in the issuance of more citations to African American motorists.
  3. Very few bias-based complaints, including anonymous complaints, are filed against officers in Shaker Heights.
    1. 2020: 1 bias complaint, sustained, because the preponderance of evidence indicated that it occurred or likely occurred.
    2. 2021: 1 bias complaint, determined to be unfounded.
    3. 2022: 3 bias complaints, none sustained, due to insufficient evidence.
  4. All officers receive initial and annual training in best practices for bias-free policing.
  5. Read the Shaker Heights Police Department’s bias-free policing policy.

 As a result, the proposed Charter amendments do not address the concerns raised by the proponents and in fact would make Shaker Heights residents and police officers less safe. For these reasons, residents are urged to read the entire proposal (PDF), briefly summarized below, and consider the consequences its passage would have on Shaker Heights.

Dangerous Implications of the Proposed Charter Amendments

Please note that citations included in brackets (e.g.  [Sec. II.D.2]) are to the text of the proposed Charter amendment.

Proposal would Eliminate 35 Police Officers

  1. The creation of a mandated new City department, the Nonviolent Community Administrators Team (NCAT), consisting of no fewer than 35 "licensed mental health clinicians, social workers, and medics,” [Sec. II.D.1&2] who would operate independently of the Police Department [Sec. II.L.] and "replace Police Officers,” assuming the officer’s duties, including: (a) making all traffic stops and issuing traffic tickets, (b) responding to all calls involving unarmed minors, no matter what the possible crime, (c) responding  to all assaults if the perpetrator is not armed, and (d) addressing all calls involving persons with mental health issues. [Sec. II.A.] These untrained and unarmed employees would not know whether a suspect is armed or violent and thus place them in harm’s way.
  2. The City would be required to take at least half of the budget needed to pay for the provisions of the Charter changes from the Police Department budget [Sec. VI.D], necessitating lay-offs of 35 or more of Shaker’s 68 officers, immediately compromising resident safety and limiting police availability to assist the new NCAT employees when needed.
  3. This proposal doesn’t take into consideration legally binding collective bargaining agreements, thereby subjecting the City to legal challenges and litigation costs.
  4. The estimated cost of hiring and equipping NCAT: more than $5.6 million; 5-year average annual operating cost: $4.6 million.

Oversight Board would take Responsibility, Accountability from Elected Officials

  1. The creation of a mandated new Civilian Police Oversight Board that would oversee and investigate allegations against Police, NCAT, and perhaps other City employees, even if another non-federal investigative agency, such as police internal affairs or the State of Ohio, has concluded there was no misconduct. [Sec. III.J.1] 
  2. Employees could be investigated, disciplined, even fired by this Board without a hearing or any administrative appeal process and Board decisions would be final. [Sec. III.J.8, 11 & 12]
  3. Establishing this unelected Board would take both authority and accountability away from elected public officials. For example, NCAT staff and the Chief DEI Officer would be hired by the non-elected Oversight Board rather than the Mayor [Sec. II.G, and Sec. III.M], in conflict with the City’s existing Charter.  The City’s Charter (Art. IV. Sec 3. C.) also requires the Mayor to “exercise control over all departments and divisions” in direct conflict with Sec.III.A. of the proposed Charter amendments. The first act by the Board would be to investigate every police officer for bias of any kind, regardless of whether any complaint or concern had been raised about the officers. [Sec. III.K.] 
  4. The Board could fire any police officer or NCAT employee for using language or any action on duty or off duty that the Board deems racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant and more [Sec. III.J.15], raising serious First Amendment concerns.
  5. This proposal doesn’t take into consideration legally binding collective bargaining agreements, thereby subjecting the City to legal challenges and litigation costs.
  6. The Board would hire its own staff. [Sec. III.I] The estimated cost just to hire and equip the Board’s nine paid members (not counting additional staff they may hire): nearly $400,000; 5-year average annual operating cost: $419,000.

A DEI Office that would Cost $420,000 annually

  1. Shaker is likely the only suburban community in Cuyahoga County that already has a full time DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) officer on staff, working closely with the mayor, CAO, and Police Department.
  2. Shaker has an existing DEI Committee made up of City Council members and residents.
  3. Shaker has its first African American Police Chief, hired after a national search in part because of his strong track record of community engagement.
  4. But the Charter amendments would require the creation of a new DEI Office with its own employees, and a significant list of ongoing duties, including among others, (a) recommending who to hire as NCAT administrators [Sec. II.G], (b) training dispatchers as to who should respond to 911 and other police calls [Sec. II.D.4], (c) reviewing decisions on response to calls [Sec. II.D.4], (d) “testing” new models of policing and safety services, (e) appointing members of the police oversight board and removing them if necessary [Sec. III.F], (f) oversee creation of NCAT uniforms and vehicle identification [Sec. IV.F], and (g) approving rules for the oversight board operations [Sec. III.J.4].
  5. The estimated cost of hiring and equipping the full DEI Office: more than $500,000; 5-year average annual operating cost: more than $420,000.

70 Years of Police Records

  1. The Charter amendments would require the posting online of tens of thousands of pages from 70 years of police reports, investigations, use of force incidents, and traffic citations [Sec. V.A.7], many of them on paper, which will require that each page be reviewed, and that confidential information be redacted. These documents must then each be scanned into a new records system that must be programmed to be searchable and downloadable online. [Sec. V.A.]   
  2. Police Department staff would have to maintain all of these documents electronically going forward that are created year after year, as well as thousands of hours of videos, forever, without the ability to destroy any of them, ever.
  3. This will likely require the hiring of additional staff to meet the deadlines broad and expansive mandates in the Charter changes.
  4. Estimated cost of establishing and posting repository is more than $700,000; 5-year average annual operating cost: more than $660,000.


Mayor's Report - April 12 (Read Transcript)

Mayor's Report - April 28 (Read Transcript)

Mayor's Report - May 19 (Read Transcript)

Learn More


Residents are invited to submit questions about the proposed Charter Amendment.