CINCINNATI — City officials hope a $1 million plan will “stop the bleeding” and curb increased gun violence in the city.
Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Eliot Isaac announced the plan while talking about police reform and crime in Cincinnati during a press conference Thursday afternoon at Grant Park.
The $1 million would be used to hire another special assistant U.S. Attorney, establish community safety organizers and increase police overtime, Cranley said.
Cranley also released a report that calls for reforming how officers are disciplined. Cranley said he has seen multiple cases where Isaac has tried to discipline officers for misconduct and been overturned by arbitration.
Craney said the city received a $7.7 million loan from the state in order to balance its budget. The city will pay off the loan in 60 days, and officials are able to allocate $1 million to curb crime.
Watch the press conference in the player below.
The proposed plan comes on the heels of a Sept. 1 Cincinnati City Council Law and Public Safety Committee meeting, in which police said there have been 68 homicides in the city so far this year. There were 53 homicides after the first eight months of 2019, according to Cincinnati police data.
Below are the the 68 homicide victims this year in the city of Cincinnati. @WCPO https://t.co/fNrMjcWVje— Mariel Carbone (@MarielCarbone) September 1, 2020
Gun violence has been on the rise here and in several U.S. cities amid the pandemic. Cranley said he hopes the $1 million will serve as a bridge to get the city to the other side.
“A million dollars isn’t even close to enough to deal with the level of gun violence that we have, but it’s all we can afford,” Cranley said.
About $100,000 would be used for another U.S. Attorney position to assist in prosecuting gun crimes. Cranley said the city already pays for one person in this role, but he is recommending to Cincinnati City Council that another person be brought on.
“When we make those arrests and bring them under federal charges, we always see a dramatic drop in crime to follow,” Cranley said.
Another $200,000 would be used to establish community safety organizers – neighborhood residents who want to help police reduce crime. In addition to improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, Isaac said he envisions the group serving as a second resource for residents.
“It’s my hope and vision that these safety organizers will help our most troubled neighborhoods,” said Isaac.
Cranley said $700,000 would be used for police overtime – to increase patrols in areas that see increased crime.
Isaac said that would allow for officers to be more visible in neighborhoods on foot and bicycles.
“We’ve increased the presence here (Grant Park), but we hope to be able to expand the hours of operations … and focus on additional problem areas,” Issac said.
While he also wants to expand shift hours and offer volunteer overtime, Isaac said he knows this is only a short-term solution.
“The long-term answer is investment in changing the social conditions of our city,” Isaac said. “That’s the long-term answer, but right now we have to stop the bleeding … then we need to invest in what changes communities — investing in education, investing in jobs, investing in housing. Those types of things are what makes long-term change.”
Cranley also released a report on police reform and racial justice, which he helped write. The report calls for reforming the system that allows discipline against officers who commit misconduct to be overturned by arbitration.
Cranley said it’s a problem that requires negotiation with the Fraternal Order of Police.
“I’d like to see reforms to make it easier for Chief Isaac to issue discipline for officers, and that’s what this report calls for, and I’m asking my lawyers, I’m asking the police department, management to look at this report and make thoughtful responses to it,” Cranley said.
Cranley said he wants the police department to review the report and issue a formal response within 60 days.