CLEVELAND (WJW) – A city councilman is calling on Cleveland’s mayor to address the ongoing police officer shortage by offering bonuses to cadets.
This comes as numbers show a concerning rise in violent crimes already.
Mayor Justin Bibb walked through neighborhoods on the city’s east side Wednesday promoting community relationships with the Cleveland Division of Police.
“We are making sure young people have productive things to do, we want to keep our city safe this summer,” said Bibb.
At the same time, Ward 8 councilman Mike Polensek called on Bibb to offer a $10,000 signing bonus for people who complete the Cleveland Police Academy.
“These are extraordinary times. We are seeing a tremendous increase of crime in the city. We have to do something,” said Bibb.
According to Polensek, the number of cadets in the last two classes were 13 and 9, and Cleveland now stands with the same number of police officers as 1923.
“If we were to hire 180 police officers, which we put in the budget, we wouldn’t have hired them. So, the money is in the budget. We can do it. We aren’t going to get 180, we are already in June,” said Polensek.
Bibb defended his administration’s plans to address the staffing shortage.
“We are going to do everything we can to attract police to our city. We are also exploring an increase in cadet pay for new officers joining the academy,” said Bibb.
But Polensek doubled down that future pay increases for cadets is simply not enough.
“We are seeing suburbs offering $17,000. We see other cities offering more. We are going to have to do something unique. We are seeing levels of crime that we’ve never seen,” said Polensek.
Polensek added that the bonuses would require cadets to stay on for five years or repay the city based on the length of service.