CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I TEAM has found you can’t count on a new Cleveland program to help protect you from guns in the wrong hands. Our investigation has found confusion and red tape even at the highest levels of City Hall.
In November, a new city law took effect. Anyone convicted of a crime with a gun has to sign up with the city. A new gun offender registry is supposed to help police know where dangerous people live.
Yet we found trying to sign up to do the right thing nearly impossible.
The I TEAM called a main city hall number, and an operator told us no one was handling the gun registry at this time.
The operator transferred us to the Safety Department. A woman there transferred us to the Mayor’s Office. A man there said we should be dealing with the Safety Director. After some time on hold, the man in the mayor’s office told us to call back to the Safety Department.
The city’s website says register with police. So we called a non-emergency line. The phone rang 17 times, and then a woman quickly transferred us back to City Hall.
The city website says you can get gun offender registry forms at police headquarters. So we went. But the main entrance on Ontario is locked for civilians.
We then navigated our way through the Justice Center courts building to get to the police reception area. A jail worker there finally found forms for us after rooting around behind a desk.
How many people should be signing up? Not exactly clear. But since this city program began in early November, the I TEAM has found, Cuyahoga County Prosecutors have convicted 110 people of all kinds of crimes involving guns. Some may still be locked up. Others may not live in Cleveland. But you get the idea.
Meantime, we’ve learned no one has signed up for the Cleveland gun offender registry after two months.
Daniel Ball, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office e-mailed a statement saying, “The city is exploring ways to increase the visibility of the gun offender registry to those who are required to sign-up. In addition, the city has already begun to partner with external organizations and is reviewing internal practices to improve the efficacy of the registry.”
Just imagine how many convicts would go through what we went through to find where and how to sign up for the registry.