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Cleveland Police Near 1600 Officer Hiring Target

Ward 1 Councilman Joseph Jones questioned whether 1600 is enough police officers in Cleveland during Wednesday's safety committee meeting. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]
photo of cleveland city councilman Joe Jones

Cleveland City Council is beginning 2019 with a focus on the police department. 

Public safety director Michael McGrath told council’s safety committee that police, fire and EMS are close to full staffing.

“There’s a few positions here and there but the bulk of staffing is in place for the Dept. of Public Safety going into the year 2019,” said McGrath.

That means about 1600 police officers. The city has been on a hiring spree since the 2016 passage of an income tax increase.

McGrath said they’ve met their goal of hiring 250 officers from 2018 to the first quarter of this year.

But several council members said the murder rate remains way too high and questioned whether 1600 is enough police.

Ward 1 Councilman Joseph Jones, who represents the Lee-Harvard area, said residents in his part of the city still feel unsafe.

“I don’t know how we came to the determination that 1600 would suffice, I would like to know the science behind that, because at this point right now I’ve never seen it this bad before,” said Jones.

Chief Calvin Williams will appear at council later this month to discuss his plan for deploying the officers.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.