I-Team: Sudden end to prostitution arrests in Cleveland

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has learned Cleveland Police have been told to temporarily stop making prostitution arrests. An internal memo reviewed by the I-TEAM indicates the Department is suddenly developing a new policy.

The memo says, “All prostitution (sex for money) related Vice enforcement shall cease immediately.” And, “Advise your Detectives under no circumstances shall they have a suspected prostitute get into a vehicle with them or have any physical contact with…Police.”

City Spokesman Dan Ball issued a statement that said only, “…the Division is in the process of revamping its policies.”

In fact, the memo also says, “We are formulating a policy that will cover procedures for these types of details.” And, “The policy will define clear, concise and lawful direction.”

Certainly investigators have their hands full with violence and drugs and more. Still the I-TEAM did some checking. Last year, records show, Cleveland Police made roughly 250 prostitution arrests. And the year before they made nearly 300.

No telling how long it will take to come up with a new policy. Officers are wondering especially with huge crowds expected this summer for the Republican National Convention.

The memo says the new policy will also be reviewed by a team appointed by the feds to monitor Cleveland Police reforms.

Residents and business people along Lorain on Cleveland’s west side tell us prostitution there has been a chronic problem for years. Victor Catala said, “They do make a valiant effort to stop it, and it does stop for a little bit, and then it keeps on going.”

A resident who didn’t want to be identified said, “I wish they would go after ‘em (prostitutes). Get ‘em off the street. They’re real bad news around here.”