FOP president: 'My patience is done' with city over troubled District 5 headquarters

Chief Isaac: 'These concerns are a top priority'

CINCINNATI -- Another District 5 officer has been diagnosed with cancer while the city's plans to move officers from their troubled headquarters on Ludlow Avenue continue to be delayed, according to FOP President Dan Hils.

Hils has called the building a "dump." He said he plans to hold a news conference Tuesday.

"We can’t control all the situations that we get sent to, but I think the least that we can ask for is to have good working conditions in the place where we start and end our shift," Hils said. "I just want to say, my patience is done."

The widow of a District 5 officer sued the city early this year, alleging "toxic and hazardous" conditions there caused his cancer. Some District 5 employees have complained that asbestos, mold and bugs there are related to health problems.

One sign posted during a tour for council members in December stated that 13 people "got cancer" there. Council members Wendell Young and Charlie Winburn said they found bugs, spiders and mold.

"I would refuse to work in this building," Young said.

Tests for mold, radon and asbestos found the air quality in the building "typical for commercial buildings," according to a memo from City Manager Harry Black. Still, Black recommended closing the building, saying it had become too small for personnel.

Black said any District 5 officers could be transferred upon request, and city council agreed to try to move all District 5 personnel to temporary locations by May 1.

When that didn't happen, Black agreed to move some personnel to a temporary location this summer, but that didn't happen, either.

"I felt disappointed that we are still there in that building," Hils said of the diagnosis Monday.

City council members originally said they wanted to move District 5 headquarters to the Youth Services Section building in Camp Washington, but ruled that out. They since turned to the former city Business Development and Permit Center on Central Parkway.

But renovations wouldn't be done until 2019, city officials said. 

Renovations would cost between $7 million and $10 million, according to officials. An entirely new building could cost $20 million.

"The Cincinnati Police Department is aware of the additional concerns for our employees that work out of the District Five police station," Police Chief Eliot Isaac said in a statement Monday afternoon. "The Police Department and other City Departments are in the process of accessing temporary locations on a leased basis and are working toward a long term solution as well.

"We encourage the Fraternal Order of Police and District Five employees that have concerns to work with the administration to find solutions that will provide a safe environment for all of our employees to work in. Please understand that these concerns are a top priority and we are attempting to address this matter as expeditiously as possible in order to find a workable solution for all involved."

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