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South High School in Cleveland to get new life as public safety training academy

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 8:47 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - How can Cleveland attract more police, firefighters, and paramedic recruits from its own neighborhoods?

19 Investigates found it all starts with the city’s plan to put a closed high school in Slavic Village to new use, making it a “public safety campus.”

This comes as the city struggles to find enough recruits.

South High School on Broadway Avenue has sat mostly empty for 11 years.

Under the city’s plan, soon future police, fire, and EMS recruits could train there at a public safety training academy.

19 Investigates learned the city plans to buy and renovate the building from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The cost of buying the building is $435,000, according to city documents.

The city would then lease part of the building back to CMSD.

“This will be extremely revolutionary and helpful with the vision of police, fire, and EMS,” said Public Safety Director Karrie Howard at Monday’s finance committee meeting.

The city is calling it a “public safety campus.”

It may be needed more than ever if they can find enough recruits to fill it.

“Like other big city safety departments across the United States, Cleveland’s Department of Public Safety is struggling to recruit and retain qualified candidates,” the Mayor’s Office said in a legislative summary.

“I think this is not just a good benefit for our safety forces, but also a very good benefit for the surrounding community. That will have a jewel in South High School that will be back open,” said Councilmember Blaine Griffin.

The city’s idea is to draw possible police, firefighter, and paramedic candidates from Cleveland’s own neighborhoods.

They plan to work with CMSD to develop a cadet program, offering a career pathway into public safety.

We discovered teachers would work with the Public Safety Division’s academy staff, teaching these students for several hours or days each week at South High School.

Council members authorized legislation on the purchase of the high school as an emergency ordinance at Monday night’s council meeting.

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