Thursday, April 27, 2000

Council votes against more street cops

City won't restore class of recruits

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If the Cincinnati police chief isn't worried about cutting the next police recruit class, then neither is City Council.

        After several weeks of de bate, members voted Wednesday not to restore a police recruit class or increase the number of officers on the street.

        The bottom line: The chief says he doesn't need the extra officers.

        But three council members disagreed, saying the city should not violate its own policies — requiring a minimum number of officers and two recruit classes a year — simply to save money.

        Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. in March proposed canceling the recruit class, which would save about $300,000, as part of a citywide budget reduction. The proposal sparked immediate anger by council members, who suggested other cuts could be made in the department that did not affect the number of officers.

        But three weeks ago, a majority of council members said they were convinced the cuts would not drastically reduce the number of officers on the street — and they have blocked two motions to restore the class

        Police union representatives said the number of retiring officers next year would cause the number of officers on the street to drop to fewer than 1,000 without new officers coming in. A “1,000-officer complement” is what police administrators say is the optimum number of officers.

        “This vote to cancel the recruit class is a slap in the face to beat officers,” police union President Keith Fangman said. “I think the police and city administration, along with a few council members, have turned their backs on the our patrol officers.”


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