You might be surprised at what we saw in an internal document, and this comes with more hard questions for police brass.
A staffing analysis shows every police district in the city is short dozens of patrol officers. While the police chief and safety director have said police are still getting guns and a lot of violent criminals off the streets, the staffing report also shows the gang unit extremely short on officers.
We even noticed the police unit at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is down a quarter below recommended staffing. (Yes, the airport with Homeland Security always in the spotlight.)
The I-TEAM has found the Cleveland Police Department is trying to make up for the staffing shortages by having officers work overtime. Often, forcing them to work overtime to keep the city covered. The I-Team has filed a records request asking how often officers are forced to stay on duty.
City council members are asking, too.
At a safety committee hearing on Wednesday, Councilman Mike Polensek challenged the chief about making officers stay on to keep patrolling long after their regular shifts.
Chief Calvin Williams responded, “We are mandating overtime. Can’t have it both ways. You can’t say we need officers on the streets, and then say I can’t mandate those officers.”
The chief says the department is committed to keeping a full number of basic patrol cars on the streets to respond to emergencies. He added, “We’d love to recruit and hire more officers.”
The chief also said the city is doing all it can to hire more officers, but that has become a problem nationwide.
At the same time, the city is also seeing another national trend in the Cleveland police: The number of officers resigning or retiring has spiked up as more and more officers give up the career of law enforcement.
That staffing analysis we reviewed is produced regularly. We’ll keep an eye on it for more trends affecting your safety.