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Cleveland police receive 'historic' raises, will work 12-hour shifts

Mayor-elect Justin Bibb of Cleveland, Ohio, listens to a reporter's question after attending meetings at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.
Patrick Semansky
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb announced the pay raises and the change from 10-hour to 12-hour shifts during a press conference Friday at the First District police station. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8 President Captain Jim O’Malley and Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Detective Jeff Follmer were also present at the announcement.

The city of Cleveland is raising the pay for police, Mayor Justin Bibb announced Friday.

The 14% raise for Cleveland Police officers means top patrol pay will reach $84,000 a year, officials announced during a press conference at the First District police station on Cleveland's West Side. Officers will also begin working 12-hour shifts.

Bibb said he hopes the increased pay will have an impact on recruiting and retaining officers.

“Our pay now goes from being in the 50th percentile statewide to now the 75th percentile statewide,” he said. “So we are truly becoming and will become a department of choice across the state.”

It's the biggest raise the union has seen, said Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president Jeff Follmer.

“Now, the goal is to keep them fresh and get the city safe and get the services back out there and try to get our numbers up,” he said.

The department will take a close look at how 12-hour shifts will affect officers, said Deputy Police Chief Daniel Fay. Currently, officers work 10-hour shifts, according to the city.

“The current system where officers are being mandated is stressful on their lives,” he said. “The 12-hour shifts is going to reduce some of that stress, and that work-family balance that they need is going to come to fruition. I firmly believe that.”

He said increasing the shifts to 12 hours and other staffing changes will also make more officers available in the districts.

“We're going to have two different squads that are going to work also,” he said. “So it's going to spread out our staffing and increase it significantly on a daily basis.”

While Cleveland police are still short on officers, the increase in pay and scheduling changes attempt to fix the problem, he said.

“I anticipate through the recruitment efforts and this particular agreement, our academy classes will increase,” Fay said. “It's going to take time, no doubt about it. It's going to take a little bit of time to get where we want to be, but this is one step in that process.”

Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.