On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice bestowed $1,875,000 on Cleveland to fund the hiring of 15 new police officers. (No word yet on how many will be stationed in the Muni Lot to help hold your beer bong.
Just hours prior, City Councilman Zack Reed publicly called for 200 more officers to be hired in the city’s upcoming budget. The Ward 2 councilman has routinely taken time during council meetings to illustrate the heightened levels of violence in what he’s termed “the other Cleveland."
So far this year, Cleveland has 75 homicides on the books, most of them occurring in neighborhoods not boasting any Hilton hotel construction. Reed pointed Monday night to a 19-year-old man who had been shot in the chest earlier that day in Longwood Estates at East 37th Street and Longwood Avenue. News of young black men being shot down in the city has become all too common, and the numbers are rising in contrast to previous years. Outside of the metro pages, though, that sort of stuff doesn’t get talked about too often.
“We needed money to redo Public Square, we found the mo
ney. We needed money to build the bridge to the lakefront, we found the money,” Reed told WEWS
. “If those things are important to the city, I think the lives of the young men who are dying everyday on our streets — that’s important.”
Boots on the ground are one thing. What would be truly exceptional would be if some level of funding actually prompted officers to do their jobs and, say, follow felony booking protocol. The Plain Dealer
’s Rachel Dissell, before being altogether booted from her beat
by the NEOMG crowd, dropped a bomb earlier in the week when she revealed that Cleveland police officers don’t collect DNA
from those arrested for felony offenses (contrary to state law and common sense). But boots on the ground are a start. It’s unclear how much support Reed’s budget calls will garner from council.
Bearing all of that in mind, Reed will be hosting a non-violence conference of sorts Oct. 7: the “Gun Violence Prevention and Solution” forum at the Jerry Sue Thornton Center. The event is free, but do register at safercleveland.org
Listen: The problem is we have a problem, but most of Cleveland’s visible problems are being ameliorated in time for the Republican National Convention in 2016. How about the violence in the streets?