EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Less than two weeks after several East Cleveland police officers were indicted on a slew of charges, the city announced a new partnership with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help with staffing issues and regaining community trust.

Beginning now through May 1, OSHP will have an increased presence in East Cleveland targeting traffic enforcement at high crash areas.

A total of 16 current and former East Cleveland police officers face several charges, including civil rights violations, tampering with evidence and felonious assault.

“Residents and motorists traveling through East Cleveland can expect to see OSHP vehicles on our city streets on any given day at any given time,” said Mayor Brandon King.

State patrol will not be conducting a 24/7 monitoring operation within the city or respond to 911 calls. King said the city has the resources to handle 911 emergencies as it works to rebuild police ranks.

“Since 2020, there have been 643 crashes throughout the city,” said Sergeant Ray Santiago of Ohio State Highway Patrol. “Of those, 201 were injury crashes, 32 of those resulted in serious injury or death. This initiative will be data-driven and focused on crash-causing violations in areas statically as shown as the highest number of crashes.”

The focus on traffic crash prevention puts a spotlight on a February East Cleveland police pursuit outside of city limits where a drunk driver hit a family head-on in Cleveland. The crash left an 11-month-old baby without the ability to walk or talk, according to her mother in an interview earlier this month.

“The incident you’re speaking of was not a police pursuit,” said East Cleveland Police Chief Brian Gerhard. “We did not initiate that we were called by a citizen that had got hit by this driver first. We merely got behind the car, he refused to stop.”

In 45 days, King said the level of assistance through this new collaboration in East Cleveland will be reassessed.

“Bringing in roadway safety would allow our police officers to do what they do best, which is respond to 911 calls,” said King. “As they continue to recruit and bring in new officers.”

Another safety initiative underway is the ShotSpotter program. Chief Gerhard said its ShotSpotter is now live. The gunshot detection technology operates through sensors placed around the city that can alert police to the area where shots are fired.

“I want the residents to feel safe traveling through their community,” said King. “I want travelers coming through this community to feel safe.”