Cleveland City Council Committee Votes Against Proposal for Extra Police Overtime

ideastream file photo by Brian Bull
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Cleveland police earned an unusual amount of overtime this year. With police staffing protests over an officer's acquittal of manslaughter charges in May , the city paid out more than $1 million a month in OT. ideastream's Mark Urycki reports on a plan to tap the city's rainy day fund to pay for more cops.  

Four members of council say crime in their wards is getting out of hand, and they question whether the police are pulling cars and patrols to save money. Testifying before the council safety committee on Wednesday, Safety Director Mike McGrath dismissed those claims.

"We don't go into it telling the chief, 'You can't have the money, you can't answer these calls,'" McGrath said. "I mean we would never even consider that." 

Councilmen Zack Reed, Michael Polsensek, Jeffrey Johnson and Kevin Conwell aren't so sure. They want to earmark an additional one million dollars for the rest of this year. Polsensek said he's tired of paying overtime for officers who work Browns and Cavaliers games. 

"Send Jimmy Haslam and send Gilbert a bill for the overtime hours," Polensek said. "We need overtime in our neighborhoods."

The councilmen say they keep hearing about rising crime and fewer patrol cars in their wards. Reed said crime has been spiking.

"Understand, we've got a serious problem. Felonious assaults with firearms in the second district are up a whopping 60 percent," Reed said. 

Committee chairman Matt Zone said the rainy day fund should not be the way to finance the police nor oversee their deployment.  The committee voted down the proposal.

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