Cleveland City Council addresses police staffing issue

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:55 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland City Council met today to discuss updates on police staffing, with Public Safety Committee Chair Michael Polensek sounding the alarm.

The budget is currently set for 1,640 officers, but is currently only hosting 1,358 sworn in officers.

Being down 282 officers, Polensek said “this is the lowest number of police officers that I’ve ever experienced in my time on city council.”

Since Jan. 1, 139 officers have left the department, with half of those departures being resignations.

The department is also struggling due to lack of recruitment, however they said that they have strategic plans in place.

“It’s a difficult environment to attract folks, but we have done some very significant things with public safety recruitment,” said Karrie Howard, Director of Public Safety.

According to the Department of Public Safety recruitment 2021 year end report, officers have left due to little pay, poor equipment and low morale.

“This is not the baby boomers. We are not dealing with the generation that get on the job and stay, we are working to attract younger officers,” Howard said.

They said the goal is to pick qualified men and women, that they cannot sacrifice quality over quantity.

“We may start off with 200 applicants,” Howard said, “and we may end up with 50, but those 50 will be the best selected for the division of police.”

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