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Project to build new Cincinnati Police District 5 headquarters could be delayed

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Posted at 7:01 PM, May 25, 2022

CINCINNATI — A new District 5 police headquarters could take even longer.

According to a new city report, City Manager John Curp is recommending council hold off on developing a new District 5 building, at least for now. Instead, he is proposing the city create a public safety facilities master plan, which looks at all police and fire facilities.

In the report, he wrote, “the needed investment in PD-5 is not an isolated issue. Many of the City’s other public safety facilities, including other police districts and some City firehouses will require sizeable public investment in the coming years for replacement or extensive rehabilitation.”

Right now, District 5 headquarters are located in a shopping center in College Hill. The move was supposed to be temporary. Police have been operating there since 2018.

During the last several years, city administration has searched for new sites and estimate it’ll cost between $20-30 million for the temporary or permanent relocation of District 5 and other city services located on existing city-owned sites.

“Therefore, before moving forward with constructing a new PD-5, the Administration is recommending development of a public safety master facilities plan to identify and coordinate strategic capital investment across both police and fire facilities,” Curp wrote. “This process will include analyzing whether the current arrangement of both police and fire facilities is necessitated and conducive to modern public safety practices—including if five neighborhood police districts is the appropriate structure for CPD. The master plan is not a review of staffing levels or an alteration of the Police Department or Fire Department complement."

But FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils said a replacement for District 5 needs to happen now.

“Assessments after a while get to be silly. That’s government at its worse. They assess, reassess and assess again and by the time they’re done assessing the current administration is moving on somewhere,” Hils said. “Look, there’s some plain and simple truths. District 5 has needed to be replaced since 1957.”

Hils said the current location is unsafe.

“It’s not a police district. It’s an old building that’s meant to be temporary,” he said. “While cops are out checking their shotguns and their rifles in a parking lot in D5, outside of a daycare center, if someone wants to come and attack a policeman they can.”

Hils said he would support combining District 1 and District 5, a notion hinted at in the report. However, he does not believe a study is needed to decide that.

“Just build it — get over this and build it," he said. “If you want to assess District 2, that’s fine. But, 1 and 5 need to be taken care of without an assessment.”

In a statement, interim police chief Teresa Theetge said she supports the idea of a master plan.

"CPD welcomes the idea of a public safety master facilities plan that will ultimately serve as a guiding document for capital investment in our city’s police and fire facilities," said Theetge. "The master plan will not only analyze the needs of District 5, but all our districts. Doing a comprehensive study is necessary to continue to provide the best service to the citizens of Cincinnati and high-quality facilities to our officers, no matter their district assignment."

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