East Cleveland Looks To Join County Jail System, Mayor Says

An East Cleveland police officer responds to a water main break in 2014.
An East Cleveland police officer responds to a water main break in 2014. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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East Cleveland plans to scale back jail operations as part of its plan to get out of fiscal emergency.

The city is following a trend among Northeast Ohio communities. Cuyahoga County has taken over local jails in recent years in Euclid, Bedford Heights and Cleveland.

“We’ve met with the county maybe half a dozen times over the course of the last eight months to discuss moving our jail and our dispatch over to the county,” Mayor Brandon King said.

He said the county “could manage it much more effectively and efficiently than we can here locally.”

King said East Cleveland would hold people for no more than 12 hours, taking them to a county facility for longer stays.

The city expects to save about $104,000 a year by not filling corrections officer positions. King said he can eliminate positions without layoffs because city police are often hired away by neighboring forces.

“So the poaching makes it good, because no one will get a pink slip, right?” he said. “It’s just positions we won’t fill.”

The state auditor declared East Cleveland to be in fiscal emergency almost six years ago.

A state and local panel overseeing the city budget signed off Wednesday on a new recovery plan that includes changes at the jail.

At the Wednesday afternoon meeting, state-appointed financial supervisor Quentin Potter said the city has made progress fixing its finances.

State auditors project that the city could get out of the red by 2022. Potter told city officials they should try to dig out sooner.

“Tremendous progress, I think, over the last couple years,” he said. “It needs to continue.”

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