I-Team: What happened to promises for more police?

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating what happened to promises by Cleveland City Hall to add more officers on the streets.

We found, so far this year, Cleveland police have added 100 officers. But 86 have left the force due to retirements or injuries or other reasons. Bottom line, the size of the force has barely grown.

The I-Team took a look since the mayor and city leaders pushed hard for a tax increase promising more police and better city services.

Cleveland police also have two more rookie classes now under way. A total of 88 officers are expected to graduate in December and January. But those officers won't have full impact patrolling your streets until next summer. First, they'll have 6 more months of on the job training.

Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek reacted to our findings. He said, "The police officers say this to the citizens: ‘We don't have enough people to patrol the neighborhoods.’"

Polensek says the city has fallen so far behind hiring officers, it will likely take two years of intense hiring to notice a difference on the streets.

He added, "We've got to figure out a plan to reverse that downward spiral. And the plan they've put forth at this point really isn't cutting it.”

A few days ago, burglars broke into a home on E. 173 in broad daylight. A teen girl found herself hiding in a bathroom. Her father spoke out to the I-Team. He said, "You know, patrol the neighborhoods. You know? I can't even begin to tell you the last time it was I seen a police car come down this street."

Cleveland City Hall plans to stay aggressive hiring officers. But complicating that, recruiting people to take the job. In some ways, police recruiting is harder than ever. Policing is a dangerous job, and nationwide, police face more criticism than ever for what they do and don’t do on a daily basis.

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