Cleveland residents concerned about police response time and staffing levels

CLEVELAND - Cleveland residents on the city's west side have some concerns about police staffing levels after monitoring recent police radio calls for service.

Stockyard Connection block club leader David Reuse pointed to Cleveland police radio traffic from April 20 to April 23 in which dispatchers could be heard putting multiple "Code 1" and "Code 2" calls for service on hold, due to a shortage of officers.

Reuse believes officers are doing the best that they can but said residents in his neighborhood are concerned about safety and police response time.

"I think it's extremely dangerous, not only for the citizens out here but for the police who are responding," said Reuse. "It's just absolutely ridiculous, all the Code 1s and Code 2s are held from being dispatched because there are no cars to do it."

Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association President Jeff Follmer told News 5 the shortage of officers is having a negative impact on response time.

Follmer said the city is trying to get more officers on the streets, with 70 cadets set to be on the job this year. But it's unlikely the city will be able to keep pace with the number of officers retiring in 2018 and staffing won't likely recover until 2019, he said.

Until then, officers are being asked to bridge the gap with overtime shifts. 

"This summer is going to be rough," Follmer said. "We're mandating seven or eight cars to stay over, so that's working a 10-hour shift and then staying on a night shift. Or staying from night shift to day shift."

News 5 contacted Cleveland police headquarters, and it issued the following statement:

"We are evaluating our staffing and will make the necessary changes when required.  The safety of the community and our officers is our No. 1 priority.

Meanwhile, Reuse believes all the police overtime needed to deal with the staffing shortage could be a safety issue.

"Tell me how you can work 16 or 18 hours straight and still be at 100 percent," Reuse said. "We had two people shot at the end of the street and we have all kind of questions from residents. When are we getting more police?" 

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