Friday, July 27, 2001

DeWine asks for more money for police overtime

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Councilman Pat DeWine wants fellow council members to spend another $250,000 for police overtime to help curb the wave of violence that has hit Cincinnati streets.

        “I am unwilling to live in a city where a 2-year-old is shot in broad daylight in some kind of running gunfight,” Mr. DeWine said in a press conference announcing his plan Thursday. “We have to do everything we can to bring this to a halt.”

        Mr. DeWine said he will introduce a motion at Monday's meeting of council's law committee appropriating an additional $250,000 to the Police Division. He said it would pay for 7,500 hours of police overtime over the next two months.

        The money, he said, would come from the city's general fund.

        “It's better than the city spending $6.5 million on Saks,” Mr. Dewine said, referring to the proposal that the city put up money for a remodeling of the Saks Fifth Avenue store downtown.

        The $250,000, Mr. DeWine said, could be used for the 70 officers assigned to the violent crimes task force formed to combat rising violence in Cincinnati neighborhoods since the April rioting, for more overtime for regular beat officers in Cincinnati neighborhoods, or both.

        “Wherever the Police Division feels it would do the most good, that's where it should go,” Mr. DeWine said. “The idea is to help stop this wave of violence.”

        Mr. DeWine said he has not talked with council members about the proposal, but said he is convinced he can get five votes on the nine-member City Council for the plan.

        Mr. DeWine's fellow Republican, Councilman Chris Monzel, said he “enthusiastically” supports the extra spending.

        “Anything we can do as a council to help, that's what we should do,” Mr. Monzel said.

        Other council members expressed doubts about whether spending more money on police overtime would be effective — especially if police in Cincinnati neighborhoods have been less aggressive about battling crime since the barrage of criticism of police after the April riots.

        “I don't know what good it will do to pay more overtime if police aren't out there being aggressive,” said Vice Mayor Minette Cooper.

        Councilwoman Alicia Reece said she is unsure about Mr. DeWine's proposal.

        “I don't know that more dollars is the answer,” Ms. Reece said.

        If Mr. DeWine's proposal is approved by the law committee Monday, it will go to the full council Wednesday.

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