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CLE Councilman Polensek worries a police shortage is jeopardizing the city's response to violence

Posted: 6:37 PM, Jan 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-18 23:38:18Z

A community in crisis - it's the Cleveland street revealing what some say is an unacceptable police response to growing violence.

Pawnee Avenue on the city's east side was the scene of three shootings in as many days.  One of them left a man fighting for his life after being shot 16 times.

Neighbors are unable to sleep, fearing for their lives. It's the frightening new reality for some people living in Cleveland.

They've been ducking for cover because of gunshots in their neighborhood for three days straight.

Homeowners are worried and want to know why their once quiet neighborhood is now under siege.

With the house across the street from his on Pawnee Avenue riddled with bullet holes, Joe Jones is reaching his breaking point.

"Terrible. It's very terrible. I don't want to be around here no more," said Jones.

Jones told News 5 he is afraid for his family's safety and feels the City of Cleveland is not doing enough to stop the violence and has failed him.

Councilman Mike Polensek agrees the city is falling short.

"They're in denial at City Hall," said Polensek.

The eighth ward councilman told News 5 part of the uptick in violence in neighborhoods like his is because there are just not enough police officers right now to keep criminals in check.

“They've totally miscalculated how many police officers we need on this street. How they could do that is beyond me," said Polensek.

Joe Jones said he does not see the amount of police presence that he thinks his neighborhood needs right now.

The Cleveland Police Department lost 101 officers to retirement in 2016, with only 65 hired the following year.

The city is adding more training classes, but it's not an immediate fix.

“We're not going to see a ramp up in police officers until the end of this year, that's totally unacceptable," said Polensek.

Polensek is hoping Mayor Frank Jackson will turn to outside police forces, like Ohio State Police or the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, to beef-up Cleveland's manpower.

"You're not getting no police out here," said Jones.

Meantime, Clevelanders like Jones are bracing themselves for more sleepless nights as they try to cope with a community in crisis.

"This is not Afghanistan, this is not Iraq. This is Cleveland, Ohio in 2018," said Polensek.