I TEAM: Officers guarding new building instead of patrolling streets

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CLEVELAND -  A FOX 8 I TEAM investigation has found some Cleveland Police officers guarding the back door of a new police building instead of protecting your streets.

Lately, one officer at a time has been assigned 24-7 to sit and protect a doorway because of a problem with the electronic key system for officers. It’s happening at the new Cleveland Police third district headquarters which just opened this summer.

An I TEAM camera visited and saw the special security Tuesday, and we received a photo showing it late Monday night.

In fact, the I TEAM reviewed police schedules. We saw officers assigned to station security and rear entrance security. And those schedules also show police cars out of service for “lack of personnel.”

The building is not far from the neighborhood where a little boy recently got shot and killed in a drive-by. One woman in that area reacted, “Seems to me it’s (the building) new, it should have everything working. We need a lot more officers around here.”

The president of the Cleveland Police Union called it, “An incredibly irresponsible use of manpower.” Steve Loomis added even if there’s one officer in a car, that can be effective on the streets. “One-man cars get flagged down just like anybody else. One-man cars, they’re out doing investigative work, taking reports. (at the building back door)He’s not doing anything. Just sitting there.”

A spokesman for City Hall said, “The 3rd District  Police Station has experienced minor mechanical-related issues with some of the security door systems. We are working with the building contractors to remedy this issue and expect to have a solution within the coming weeks.”

The city says, for that door security, when possible the police try to use officers not allowed on the streets because they’re already on restricted duty.

Privately, officers say that door can’t get fixed soon enough.