Cleveland Police officers paid to ‘guard’ open garage at West Side station

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Police Department has been spending hundreds of dollars each day since last Friday for officers to guard a garage left open by a broken door at the District 1 police station.

A tipster estimated it’s costing more than $700 each day.

19 News did some digging to find out if that amount is accurate, if overtime pay is being used, or if the officers are earning regular pay, it could mean patrol officers could be taken off the streets.

We tried asking Chief Calvin Williams about the issue at City Hall on Wednesday, after a press conference to announce the cancellation of Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Before we could ask any questions, Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, the department’s spokesperson, stepped in.

“We’re only talking about St. Patrick’s Day right now,” she said.

19 News pressed for limited access.

“No, not right now,” Ciaccia said. “We have to brief real quick,” referring to a briefing in the mayor’s office.

Several hours earlier, 19 News requested information from both the mayor’s office and the police department about the broken garage door.

After the interaction at City Hall, Ciaccia responded to our e-mail request, writing:

"There is currently an issue with the door. A request for repair has been filed and is in process. An officer has been detailed to ‘station security’ at the sally port door. It has not impacted the car plan or overtime.”

The final line in her response suggests the money would have already been spent and no new costs have been incurred.

According to the most recent police contract posted on the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association website, the minimum wage for police officers is $24.85 per hour. Over a 24-hour period, without factoring in any other variables, that’s $596.40.

That’s at least $2,982 devoted to station security since last Friday.

That number raises the question of cost-effectiveness; would it be more efficient to simply repair the garage door and allow the officers used as security to do another job?

Although 19 News requested an estimate on the cost of repairs, that information was not provided.

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