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Nerves, disappointment greet CPD during hearing on District 5 dissolution

Cincinnati Police announced in May they'd be eliminating District 5 and merging the territory with District 3 and 4.
CPD Public Hearing
Posted at 10:44 PM, Jun 07, 2023

CINCINNATI — Workers at the College Hill Recreation Center had to bring out extra chairs and two sets of bleachers to fit the crowd of more than 100 people who showed up to question Cincinnati Police leadership about a decision to dissolve District 5.

"Their presence is needed in District 5," said Laronda Thomas.

Thomas lives in College Hill and, like many in the room, worried about police coverage if the district is eliminated and stations are much further away in District 3 and 4.

"I think if we remove the officers from the community, then we're going to see crime increase," she said. "We have several schools that surround district 5 as well."

Others, like the Citizens on Patrol, demonstrated how many small things would be affected by the HQ's elimination.

"They call us the eyes and ears of the police," said Citizens on Patrol member Anita Killian.

She said their civilian team of neighborhood crime sleuths store their radios and car at the District 5 station for patrols.

The car was most important for founder Jim Bodner, who's assisted police in the area for nearly 24 years.

"We needed the car because we can't walk anymore," Bodner said. "I'm 85 years old."

Bodner said he talked with Cincinnati Police Chief Theresa Theetge after the meeting and came to a potential compromise about using the nearby fire station for supply storage so they can continue to operate.

"I'm very happy," he said.

Others weren't convinced by Theetge's assurances that service wouldn't be disrupted during the transition and were upset when she announced that the decision to nix the district was final.

"I will tell you, this is the plan," Theetge said. "This is the plan to go to four districts. We do not have the luxury of time or resources to do something on a grander scale like building a new District 5."

PREVIOUS: Cincinnati Police Department will re-structure, eliminate a district

Thomas, like several others, was left unsure of her community's safety in the future.

"Their voices should have been heard first," she said. "Not last. Not last."

The next and final public hearing is scheduled for June 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Winton Hills Recreation Center.

Theetge said District 5 would be eliminated by the end of 2023.

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