Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Police Cutbacks Could Leave Downtown Unguarded By Day

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 12:04 PM

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Perhaps you’ve heard the one about how these are dark times for Ohio’s public employees? Now Cleveland Police may be supplying a new punch line.

Eighty-one patrol officers were laid off this week, the indirect result of Governor John Kasich’s scalpel work with municipal budgets.

Insiders say top brass have yet to work out how the department will reorganize, but at least one proposal working through the ranks could seriously affect downtown businesses that don’t butter their bread by cover of night.

According to sources close to Cleveland Police, the department could soon reassign its downtown units to the night shift. That means the city would have a police presence from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. — the better to ensure that there are enough cops to referee downtown hot spots like West Sixth and East Fourth.

On the flip side, that also means a dramatic dip in downtown cops during the day. According to the chatter, a single zone car would be attached to the area during business hours — that’s one police car supplying the thinnest layer of law enforcement for your Starbucks, bank branches, office buildings, parking lots, and thousands of daily workers.

These plans remain up in the air. But Scene also hears that the reorganization has forced the department to take a number of officers off special units — like narcotics and gangs — and put them back into patrol cars.

Need to push a couple kilos of coke? There may be no better place than lunchtime on Public Square.

“They keep saying we have to do more with less,” says one cop. “We’ve been doing more with less. I don’t know how we can do much more.”

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