Thursday, June 22, 2000

Cops to add substation

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — A four-by-three-block area of west Norwood draws police cruisers more than any other neighborhood in this city of about 26,000.

        So newly named Police Chief Bill Schlie has decided to bring the cops to the neighborhood permanently. By summer's end, a new police substation should be located in the neighborhood, which this spring saw 145 police runs in a 12-day period, April 26 through May 8.

        “This is the highest crime area by far in Norwood. Nothing comes close,” Chief Schlie said. “We have everything from breach of the peace to stabbings and other assaults. ... We have a drug-infested neighborhood.”

        He said the police are negotiating with the owner of a building at Mills and Carter avenues — the location of the old Hap's Grocery store — for the substation. “We'll be so close, people will be able to walk in our front door and report (crime) as it is occurring,” he said.

        City Law Director Vicky Garry said she is optimistic a lease arrangement can be reached with the owner of the storefront.

        Remodeling and equipping the office will take another four to six weeks. It would cost $13,000 for structural upgrades and another $9,100 for computers, furnishings and other equipment.

        “I have held a community meeting, and the law-abiding residents of this area are welcoming us,” Chief Schlie said. “We are going to calm this neighborhood by becoming a part of it. There are not going to be rowdy gangs walking the streets breaking windows, knifing tires and giving us continuous problems.

        “We will reinstate neighborhood watch and community forums. When we move in, I predict 75 percent of the problems will be eliminated simply because we're here.”

        At first, officers will begin to work out of the new substation during the high crime hours of 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays — with added manpower on weekends, when trouble brews more often. If police manpower increases, the substation will be open 24 hours a day.

        “We can cover all of the western part of the city from here,” Chief Schlie said. That includes the territory from Victory Parkway east to Montgomery Road west and from Sherman Avenue north to Williams Avenue south. The chief said he envi sions other substations in the city as he leads the change to a neighborhood-based policing philosophy.

        Safety Director Cliff Miller commended the chief for launching an effort “the administration has talked about for a long time. ... We wholeheartedly support him.” Mr. Miller said he has recommended continual implementation of Community Oriented Police (COP) programs.

        Mr. Miller also said Chief Schlie has proposed a funding plan that won't drain city resources.

        The chief said he plans to use some of the $68,000 the department has amassed in its drug forfeiture fund to remodel the storefront, plus $9,100 of a $29,600 annual federal Justice Department grant the city receives for policing programs to buy equipment.

        .Linda Jones, 47, of Carter Avenue, welcomes the police.

        “Last year, I saw a kid stabbed, old people jumped, gangs of roaming teen-agers, fights in the street, people selling drugs. I'm tired of it,” she said.

        . “I'm just thrilled the police are coming in.”


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