Police: We have a terrible morale issue right now

Police: We have a terrible morale issue right now

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A driver getting a traffic ticket is happening less and less often in Cleveland. A comparison of the first nine months of 2013, 2014 and 2015 shows the d rop is dramatic. The city has gone from 48,000 to 40,000 to just under 30,000 traffic tickets written.

City Hall acknowledged the d rop and while the Mayor Frank Jackson has said he doesn't feel a lack of morale on the force, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president, Steve Loomis disagreed.

"He really does need to get out to the districts because it's terrible. We have a terrible morale issue going on right now," Loomis said.

Loomis said the issue stems from several things, and many of them center on the consent decree the city agreed to with the Justice Department.

It demands that officers do more community policing, for example during a red light traffic stop. Loomis said this is the new approach of officer to driver "I'd really appreciate it if you'd pay a little more attention to those pink lights for me.  Have a nice day. That's community policing. Used to be a ticket."

Loomis admitted that working conditions don't help morale. Four of eight two man cars last night were out of service in the Third District.

We've profiled bald tires, and even a cruiser where the rear floor board was rusted so badly you can see the ground.

Fewer people getting tickets has a ripple effect. It means fewer people coming through the doors at traffic court, which translates to fewer dollars for the city and fewer people being pulled over means fewer people being checked for weapons and warrants.

"We're doing it exactly the way that they want us to do it and they don't like the end result of it," Loomis said.

Another end result is 13,000 fewer arrests year to year and 5500 fewer felony arrests.

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