CLEVELAND (WJW) – Taxpayers, crime victims and business owners have repeatedly reached out to the FOX 8 I-Team calling for more officers on the streets of Cleveland.
“We need to take care of our citizens,” said Dale Chandler.
His daughter was involved in a hit and run crash Friday. She waited for more than 40 minutes for an officer before being told to just drive to the nearest police district and file a report.
“She was hysterical. I think in those circumstances you are not the best person to determine if you can drive and whether you are OK,” Chandler said.
Police Union President Jeff Follmer says there simply aren’t enough officers to respond as quickly as they would like.
The city is down over 200 officers. There are a total of 1,276 officers, which Councilman Mike Polensek says in one more than the city had 100 years ago.
“If we lose one more, we are at 1923 levels,” Polensek said during Wednesday’s council safety committee meeting. “We are getting complaints on response time on gun shots being fired and lack of traffic enforcement.”
The I-Team has found getting more officers quickly may be a challenge. The latest class of new hires includes just nine recruits.
“It’s a scary time for Cleveland,” Follmer said. “The services for some citizens are probably going to be reduced. Our patrolmen are working their days off, they are working 16, 18-hour shifts, three, four and sometimes five days a week.”