CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The city of Cleveland is relying on a part of it's city charter, not on state law, to bring in law enforcement assistance during the Republican National Convention.
Cleveland 19 News started investigating the issue after uncovering a public document from the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System -- a statewide agency made up of chiefs of police, the Illinois Sheriff's Association, and Emergency Management -- that brought up the apparent issue of "legality."
Board minutes from ILEAS stated at that point that, "the only real potential roadblock for this deployment is one of legality." The concern, according to the document, was that Ohio has a statute that limits the ability of Cleveland to request assistance only to states that share a border with Ohio.
That would mean Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
The December document stated Cleveland's plan at that time, in order to request assistance from non-adjacent states, was to have the governor declare a state of emergency.
Cleveland 19 News contacted the governor's office to see if there was any planned state of emergency. That office directed us to the state department of public safety, who directed us to the Secret Service, who directed us to the city of Cleveland.
City Council member Matt Zone, chairman of the city council's safety committee, said that Cleveland is using it's own authority as a home rule charter community to request aid.
"Our safety director, under the city charter, has the authority to appoint to temporarily deputized any law enforcement official," said Zone.
The councilman pointed to the part of the charter written in 1931 called "special policemen." The part of the charter, in a nutshell, states that the mayor or the director of public safety can deputize special police officers for up to six months.
"Our safety director has been temporarily deputizing officers from outside the state of Ohio," said Zone.
He went on to agree that in this case, the home rule Cleveland charter would supersede the state law.
"Under state law, the provision was gr anted to the city of Cleveland that we could then exercise and gr ant that so we have the authority under our charter we've received a ruling from our law department to that effect," said Zone.
He said that the city law department is the "final arbiter," and the City Council is confident that the ruling gr anted is legal and binding.
Cleveland police officials said that they have more than enough officers guaranteed to assist with the Republican National Convention.
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