CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval's plan to calm gun violence includes getting police $250,000 extra to spend on overtime this summer. However, the centerpiece of his strategy involves something Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge called a "big shift" for law enforcement in the area.
"I don't know how I'm going to live without my baby," Amani Odle said of her son Ammanuel, who died in a shooting last month.
Odle's agony is hardly hers alone. In less than four months, the city's 21 homicides are ahead of last year's pace.
"I've had a couple family members get shot and died," said Chelsea Williams of Avondale.
So this summer, Mayor Pureval, members of city council and police commanders plan to use money from Cincinnati's American Recovery Plan funding to pay for more police overtime. Interim Chief Theetge said data will dictate how it is spent in every district.
"(District commanders) come up ... 'These are the hours that our crime is occurring, these are the days of the week, this is how many officers I need to address it,'" she said. "As we see crime shift, they will have to very quickly shift their plan. What the money does is it allows them to have resources, a pot of money to go to continually implement their plan without having to stall it for financial reasons."
Theetge said the biggest shift in her department's policing involves the Crime Gun Intelligence Center (CGIC), the first of its kind in Ohio. With assistance from federal agents, CGIC investigators focus on recovering guns, shell casings and DNA evidence.
Now, CPD plans to hire a civilian to be a community coordinator for CGIC. That person will help community members understand how CGIC operates and why.
"It is absolutely key for us to get that message out in the most effective way possible," Lt. Col. Mike John said.
"If there's a misunderstanding and they don't understand, then unfortunately we start taking steps backwards to where there is distrust," Cincinnati City Councilman Scotty Johnson said.
Pureval said the early results have been "very, very promising." Johnson said he hopes to organize two community forums about the issue.