I-TEAM: Fewer officers to patrol some of Cleveland’s meanest streets

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating changes in Cleveland Police staffing plans, and they call for a few less officers to patrol some of the city’s most violent streets.

The I-Team has learned of changes in plans for the minimum number of officers on patrol in the Fourth District. That covers the city’s southeast side.

And recently in that area, a 94-year-old woman was killed in a home invasion, a 9-year-old died after getting hit by a stray bullet, and more incidents have also occurred.

Shuffling patrol schedules in the Fourth District will mean a few less cops on the beat especially at night. It's only a handful less officers. But to folks living in that part of town, even one fewer is too many.

Carmella Parks spoke to us at a home protected by security cameras and no trespassing signs.

She reacted by saying, "Reduce? Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Can't understand that. Reduce police patrols. I mean seriously?”

The Chief’s office sent us a statement. Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia wrote,

“While the division does not discuss deployment, we are exploring alternative deployment plans that are based on calls for service, location, types of service etc. As always our goal is to maximize the efficiency of our resources.”

Multiple sources tell the I-Team, the driving force is to cut down on the number of officers forced to work overtime since the Cleveland Police Department is so short-staffed.

Another resident in the area reacted by saying, "You might not get your call answered. I've been told before by dispatch, 'Hey, we're busy.’ I was shocked by that."

Privately, even officers wonder if the city can afford any drop in the number of patrols in the Fourth District.

Meantime, the problem of chronic short-staffing and unending demands for overtime has been an issue due to short-staffing in the police dispatch center, too.