Walton Hills police cuts have residents concerned about safety

Neighboring cities believe cuts will impact safety
Posted at 10:52 PM, Jun 27, 2017

Walton Hills city leaders believe they have no choice, announcing a 17% reduction in the city police force, down to just 10 officers by July 8.

Walton Hills Mayor Kevin Hurst told News 5 the police cuts are needed due to a massive reduction in the city tax base since 2015, with the closing of the Ford plant and the Arhaus Furniture Warehouse.

"It's really difficult for me personally," said Hurst.

I don't think it will have an impact on safety for residents, however, it will effect the detective bureau and our one-on-one response in domestic related cases."

Residents and business owners like Eddie Dayoub, who owns the Walton Hills Deli, believes the police cuts will have an impact, and he's hoping the city will look to make cuts elsewhere.

"As a small business owner I am very concerned," said Dayoub.

"It's critical that we maintain police protection, and find other ways to trim the budget."

As reported first inthe Nordonia Hills News, the Village of Northfield is also concerned, its Mayor Jesse Nehez told News 5 major cuts in the Walton Hills police department will have an impact on police coverage in the entire region.

Nehez and acting Northfield Village Police Chief John Zolgus believe Walton Hills will need a lot more mutual aid from surround police departments, increasing critical police response time.

"They are serious cuts for Walton Hills," said Nehez.

"I don't even know how you're going to do a schedule with just 10 people on staff.  I mean that's just insane."

Meanwhile, Mayor Hurst told News 5, the failure of the 5 mill property tax levy in May hurt his city big time, it would have generated about $700K in revenue.

Hurst hopes to get the levy back on a special ballot in January 2018, in an effort to avoid additional cuts and restore his police department.