DeWine shared more details about the targeted initiative at a Wednesday afternoon media briefing a precinct in the Cleveland Division of Police Fourth District, where much of the violent crime is happening, officials said.
“Our state teams have been in Cleveland, and we plan to stay in Cleveland as long as local officials need us,” DeWine is quoted in a news release. “We know that most violent crime is committed by repeat offenders who are not legally allowed to possess a firearm, yet they do it anyway. This violence reduction initiative will target those individuals.”
A host of state investigative and enforcement agencies plan on bringing those resources to bear on “criminal hot spots” in Cleveland, on unannounced dates. The state patrol will step up traffic enforcement and street patrols — along with airborne support — and help process evidence and interview suspects.
Meanwhile, state corrections workers will give “extra attention” to adults and youths who’ve been released from incarceration and are under supervision, to better identify probation and parole violators, DeWine said. Parole workers made three arrests and also recovered several illegal guns, according to the release.
Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond on Wednesday called it “a force multiplier.”
The surge started Tuesday, when Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers made 57 traffic stops and 20 felony arrests, recovered four stolen vehicles and seized four illegal firearms, as well as a multitude of narcotics. Nine people were also referred to substance use recovery services, DeWine said.
It’s similar in scope to previous enforcement surges that happened in Cleveland last year, in April and August. Similar violence reduction initiatives also came to Youngstown, Dayton, Columbus and Toledo, according to the release.
“The support announced by the state today is a key component of our RISE Initiative we launched last month, and joins our other recent partnerships with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Marshals Service to help combat crime in our city,” Mayor Justin Bibb is quoted in the release. “We are stronger when we are united. Thank you to Gov. DeWine, these state agencies, as well as our local and federal partners who join us in doing everything we can to keep Clevelanders safe.”
This year, the city is short hundreds of police officers, while only about a dozen new recruits were in the pipeline, the I-Team reported.
On Tuesday, SkyFOX spotted a patrol helicopter in the skies above Cleveland — a part of that ongoing collaboration, according to patrol Sgt. Ray Santiago.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Marshals also announced more manpower and resources were on the way.
The new initiative, dubbed Operation 216, will see members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force focusing in on crime “hot spots” in Cleveland, mostly between August and September. The effort will triple the resources the Marshals have in the area, according to U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott.
“The violence needs to stop in our city,” he said. “We are not going away. Now, we are going to be stronger and stronger than ever.”