In fact, we’ve uncovered a series of extreme police delays.
It’s no secret: Cleveland police are chronically short-staffed.
But look at what’s happening on the streets.
Take the case of Don Fenderson near East 149th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard.
Last month, he saw someone firing gunshots in the middle of the night in front of his house. He called 911, but he told us that he never saw police.
We pulled records confirming dispatchers took the call, but a patrol car didn’t respond.
“I was able to see a guy shooting at another guy. I called 911 after the third shot,” Fenderson said. “I waited and looked out for the next couple hours and thought maybe I missed something.”
Also this week, at East 113th Street and Greenwich Avenue, the ShotSpotter system picked up gunfire. A report shows the 911 center “attempted to dispatch” a unit more than two-and-a-half hours later.
A taxpayer in that neighborhood reacted.
“I expect police. There was no police around,” said James Bates.
Also this week on the west side, the ShotSpotter system picked up more gunfire. But records show it took 30 minutes to send police.
Then last weekend in the Warehouse District, records show dispatch had no officers to send to a crash. Finally, dispatch pulled officers off another call 44 minutes later.
Days ago, the police chief and safety director spent hours at a city council hearing saying they have a plan to protect your streets, even though the Cleveland Police Department is critically short-staffed.
Yet, we’ve found extreme delays.
These cases come to light just as city hall has started a new push on its campaign to get everyone to “See something. Say something.” You know — call 911 and help fight crime. But, let’s go back to the witness who’d called 911 and no police came.
“We saw something. We said something. Heard shots. And nothing? What are we supposed to do?” Fenderson said.
At that scene, gunfire even went into a child’s room.
Fenderson told us what he’d say to city leaders: “What are you guys doing? What do you want us to do?”
The mayor’s office released a statement:
The Cleveland Division of Police is working diligently to ensure the safety of all citizens. Responding to calls for service is our top priority. We remain committed to keeping our community safe while responding to calls in a timely fashion. The Division maintains a consistent car plan, and we have adequate staffing to serve our community. We encourage residents to continue to utilize 911 in the event of an emergency and for non-emergencies please call (216) 621-1234. Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME and a cash reward may be available in some cases.Statement from the Office of Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb
But we still don’t have an answer for why no officers responded just after the gunshots on East 149th Street.