What took so long for Cleveland police to get to a shooting?


CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team found it took Cleveland police 12 minutes to get a patrol car to a shooting, so we investigated.

And, this case puts a spotlight on concern about police staffing and response citywide.

Sunday, just after 7 a.m., Cleveland police got a call for a shooting at West 146 and Lorain.

A recording shows dispatch tried to send officers just beginning their shift.

A dispatcher can be heard saying, “Code 1…146 and Lorain. Somebody possibly shot.” 

And,”Adam 13, Adam 16, ready for this code 1 male shot?”

But, one officer responded with, “Adam 13, give us a few.”

The recording also shows an ambulance got there, but paramedics waited for police before approaching.

The dispatcher said, “Adam 13, you guys almost ready? EMS is not gonna approach unless you guys are up here.”

The recording shows a patrol car arrived 12 minutes after the call for help.

Westside taxpayer and activist Therese Pohorence said, “That’s not good enough. I mean, That’s just not good enough.”

This comes as the I-Team has been keeping a close watch on short staffing in the Cleveland safety forces.

An internal report shows, as of last month, in the first district where the shooting happened, police were short almost a quarter of their assigned patrol officers. And, we found, citywide, police patrol staffing is only slightly better.

The shooting happened just a mile and a half from First District Police Headquarters. A domestic dispute turned violent outside a restaurant, and witnesses say a woman shot and wounded a man.

The chief’s office looked into the response after we inquired.

Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia wrote in an email, “This call came in as cars were coming out of roll call, as soon as a car was available one was dispatched.”

Sgt. Ciaccia added, once a patrol car took the call, officers got to the scene in 3 minutes. 

But, the statement did not address why no other officers were available to go to a shooting on a quiet Sunday morning. 

Therese Pohorence added, “My message to the mayor and the same message to the police chief, ‘You’re just not doing your job.’ They’re paying more attention to their personal stuff than they are in keeping the public safe.”

With police staffing levels down, citizens and even members of city council are also watching police response times closely.

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