CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found you will only see up to a few dozen new Cleveland police officers hitting the streets in 2023 to protect you.
The city keeps saying ‘we’re trying to hire,” but we uncovered why help is a long, long way off.
The I-Team cut through all of the promises about hiring more Cleveland police officers. You won’t see any new officers for most of the year.
A small class of 13 recruits should graduate in July. Another class of 29 or less will graduate in December, but that’s it.
New recruits go through more than seven months of training. So, for 2023, the only new Cleveland officers to join the force handling calls will be the few now in training or about to start.
In fact, the next training class to start may even be significantly smaller than 29. It all depends on how many make it through background checks and other new officer processing.
“You know what? It all falls on the safety director,” Cleveland City Councilman Brian Kazy said.
Kazy blames the administration overseeing police. Recruiting officers has become a challenge nationwide, but council members wonder how much effort is being made in Cleveland.
“We don’t know what else we can do. We’ve given them everything they could possibly ask for to put more bodies on the street and they just are refusing to do it,” Kazy said.
Behind all this, we also found questions about the city’s plan to hire a marketing firm to find new police officers
Recently, we filed a city records request. The response we got back told us the city had no records of any companies applying for that contract.
City hall said several firms had applied, but no company has been hired yet.
“Council earmarked funds to hire 180 officers. It’s not going to happen.” Council Public Safety Chairman Michael Polensek said. “All of us are wondering, what is the plan?”
The Cleveland Police Department is now short well over 300 officers. More leave the force every month.
Now, the I-Team has found for this entire year, you will only see a few dozen new officers.
Councilman Polensek says the Cleveland Police Department will soon shrink to the size it was back in 1923.
Taxpayers, crime victims and business owners have repeatedly reached out to the I-Team, calling for more safety in the streets.