Council Split on Need for More Cops

Cincinnati City Council will vote Wednesday on a resolution that makes reducing crime the top priority in next year’s budget, but some members are questioning the need for adding 100 more police officers, which was proposed as one of several measures for improving public safety.

The resolution quickly was cobbled together last week after council and Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. were sharply criticized by residents for holding a press conference to emphasize that Cincinnati is safe, even though the city is on pace for another record-breaking year in homicides. After strong public outcry, a council majority introduced the resolution a day after the press conference.

Most of the measures mentioned in the resolution previously had been proposed separately by various council members. The measures included ensuring that safety-related items were fully funded as administrators draft a 2007-08 budget proposal. Council members proposed items such as hiring 100 additional police officers, buying state of the art technology like crime hot spot cameras and shooting sensor technology, and building a temporary jail.

Also, council wants to make a temporary police task force that has conducted crime crackdowns in Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills and Price Hill into a permanent unit and expand it into other neighborhoods.

When it came time Monday to begin the process of approving the resolution, council’s Finance Committee was split on its recommendations.

Although all of the items had enough votes to recommend approval by the full city council, some members dissented on specific proposals. Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell and members David Crowley and Cecil Thomas opposed hiring the additional officers and building a temporary jail at an estimated cost of $6.5 million.

The city recently hired an additional 75 officers, and Streicher hasn’t requested that any more be added, the trio said. Further, Hamilton County is legally responsible for providing adequate jail facilities, not the city, and the county recently struck a deal to ship some prisoners to Butler County.

“We’re not going to be able to arrest our way out of this situation,” said Thomas, a retired police officer. “In order to free up some of those beds, we need to look at alternatives to incarceration in some cases.”

Tarbell voted against the entire resolution, noting that it hadn’t been adequately reviewed and lacked a police recommendation.

City council will vote on the proposals at its next meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

— Kevin Osborne

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6 Comments on “Council Split on Need for More Cops”


  1. “Dreams can come true
    Look at me babe I’m with you
    You know you gotta have hope
    You know you gotta be strong”

    For how many years have we hoped one more tax levy
    for public schools would make our children smarter?

    For how many years have we hoped 100 more cops would
    be the secret to making us serenely secure?

    If scientists rather than politicians were conducting these social
    experiments, how many years ago would the ideas of more money
    and more cops been discarded as cul de sacs?
    Scientists are patient, but they aren’t stupid.

  2. McGravy Says:

    With all the special rights granted to homosexuals we probably should create a special task force to protect them. That will probably require 200 police officers.

  3. Chris Bortz Says:

    Kevin,

    “The resolution quickly was cobbled together last week after council and Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. were sharply criticized by residents for holding a press conference to emphasize that Cincinnati is safe, even though the city is on pace for another record-breaking year in homicides.”

    THAT WAS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE! PLEASE STOP REPORTING SO! OUR PURPOSE WAS TO INFORM THE PUBLIC THAT WE ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND ARE COMMITTING EVERY AVAILABLE RESOURCE TO MAKE OUR STREETS SAFE FOR EVERY LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN! THE CHIEF’S COMMENTS WERE AN UNFORTUNATE ATTEMPT TO PUT CINCINNATI’S CRIME STATISTICS IN A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. HE WAS NOT DISMISSING THE PROBLEM. REGARDLESS, THE CHIEF ALSO SPENT SIGNIFICANT TIME OUTLINNING THE CURRENT REPSONSES TO THE CRIME SPIKE AREAS INCLUDING THE VORTEX TASK FORCE. CINCINNATIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS GOVERNMENT, THIS ADMINISTRATION, THIS MAYOR, THIS COUNCIL ARE ALL 100% COMMITTED TO ADRESSING CRIME WITH ALL POSSIBLE SPEED AND WITH EVERY REOSURCE AT OUR DISPOSAL. PLEASE REPORT THAT!


  4. Chris, I can gurantee you if you combed over a written transcript of the press conference, Chief Streicher and Mayor Mallory spent more words describing the city’s safety than anything else. And that’s how it was reported — both by me and multiple other media outlets including The Enquirer and Channel 9.

    For the record, I counted and this is at least the fifth “council is unified behind the Police Department” press conference that I have attended in about eight years of covering City Hall.

  5. Howard Roark Says:

    I only hope that wasn’t really Chris Bortz because the 6.21.06 Motion, 200600629, was an attempt at doing just that, “INFORM THE PUBLIC THAT WE ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND ARE COMMITTING EVERY AVAILABLE RESOURCE TO MAKE OUR STREETS SAFE FOR EVERY LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN!”

    The 9.7.06 Motion, 200600837, only tacks on a list of also-rans.

    Magic bullet of more cops, this time 100…..was there any rhyme or reason to this number or was it just big and round so us citizens can understand?

    Hot spot cameras, not new and not proven to reduce crime. Especially when left unmanned. Please see UC report associated with 200000221 or 200104032.

    Whatever happened to 199800173?

    Can’t help but remember the Bugs Bunny where he asks Elmer Fudd if he wants his palm red and Elmer complies. Bugs then pulls out a paint brush with red paint and applies accordingly.

    If this was an attempt to set budget policy for the upcoming 07/08 budget, it really pales in comparison to the 21 points enumerated in the 6.30.04 motion for formulating the 05/06 budget.

    Crime = #1, cutting-edge (now there is a nebulous term), expand Votrtex to some communities, but not all. Hardly comprehensive.

    Is a press conference the best avenue to discuss Council’s commitment to fighting crime or is it just another photo op?

    Judge a person by their actions, not their words.

  6. The truth Says:

    No more Jim Tarbell unity press conferences! Please!


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