CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Police Union told Cleveland 19 the department has asked individual officers to provide gear for training, something the city denies.
"We absolutely want to have a bike unit but we're not paying to do that," said Sgt. Steve Loomis, the President of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.
Cleveland 19 has obtained memos that seem to say in black and white that the bicycle training is "in preparation for the 2016 RNC," that officers will be trained "with no overtime to accrue," and that "members attending will need to supply the following items for training" and then list things like a bike helmet, rain gear with "wicking material" and tennis shoes.
"We're happy to go ride the bike but train us on it and provide the equipment that we need," said Loomis. "What's next? You want us to buy the police car?"
When Cleveland 19 reached out to the City of Cleveland and the police department, initially Dan Williams, a spokesperson for the city emphatically denied that officers had to provide their own equipment.
"We are not requesting that officers purchase any equipment on their own. The city has never required that of its officers," said Williams.
"For him to make that statement that it's not true when we have it in black and white from the city of Cleveland shows you what kind of organization they have over there," said Loomis.
The memos Cleveland 19 obtained specifically said that in 2015 and 2016 that officers would be expected to provide their own "protective equipment."
Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said that the city doesn't require officers to buy their own equipment, and said the department is ordering protective gear for officers on bikes. She admitted that the gear hasn't been received yet, and said that the department did ask officers to bring in things to the bike training session that they assumed officers would "probably already have."
"To ask a man or a woman in the Cleveland Police Department to come out of their pocket with $200 worth of gear so they can go ride a bike for the city of Cleveland for an RNC that the city of Cleveland brought here is absolutely ludicrous," said Loomis.
Loomis also said that the officers assigned to the bike unit didn't all volunteer for the assignment, he said some younger rookie officers were assigned.
As far as the line in the training memos that said "no overtime is to accrue," Ciaccia said that is a typically in department memos. She said the department tries to schedule officers for training during their regularly scheduled work days, but if that's not possible and someone is scheduled on their day off they can get overtime.
The city has requested bids for protective gear twice in the past, and will ask for a third round of bids that will open May 18. The first day of bike training is Monday, May 16.
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