CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - As Police Chief Calvin Williams sent the city's 135th cadet class off to Columbus for training he told recruits "make yourselves proud."
It was a different beginning than that of any other class. Training by the Highway Patrol in Columbus hadn't happened before and had always been done by CPD officers.
It was controversial, and eventually was allowed by the courts, but there is another story brewing beneath the surface. Manpower.
The city wants as many officers as possible on duty for this summer's Republican National Convention and right now the numbers don't add up, according to police union President Steve Loomis.
"We're going backwards, we been going backwards since 2004, 2005. We're not keeping up with attrition," Loomis said.
In 2015, 89 officers retired but only 31 replaced them. This resulted in a net loss of 58 officers. The hope for the new cadet class was for 50 officers to be street ready by July.
So far 8 have d ropped out, so at best the number will be 42. There is a variable in all of this. It is a question, and one that is unanswered. How many officers will retire before the convention?
It is an individual decision but many have said they will. It's estimated that more than 100 officers will turn in their badges.
It is a sentiment Loomis confirmed.
"There's absolutely gonna be mass retirements you know guys don't want to put up with that." He was asked if the reason was that the department is not prepared for the convention. He answered "Yeah, absolutely."
100 retirements translates to a net loss of at least another 58 officers. And many of the retirements can't be held off because of what is known as the d rop program. It sets age and time limits and city council has refused to extend the deadline to keep officers on the job.
"These guys are the most senior guys and the guys we really want to be around to help the younger guys," Loomis observed. Unfortunately the numbers don't lie.
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