CLEVELAND -- Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid intend to have deputies available for use by suburban police police departments.
They explained the Sheriff's Impact Unit concept to many of the county's 59 police chiefs in a session at Tri-C- East in Highland Hills.
Suburban chiefs and safety directors will be able to request 2 to 10 deputies to help them tackle particular problems they may lack manpower for.
That could include pursuing dangerous suspects, surveillance, traffic checkpoints, DUI enforcement and emergencies.
FitzGerald is earmarking about $1 million per year for the effort.
It is a similar community policing concept to one he supported as Mayor of Lakewood.
"All these are high visibility activities. We want to make sure there is as much law enforcement presence as possible," FitzGerald said.
Sheriff Bob Reid stressed this program is a partnership.
"You know your jurisdictions and what your community needs. We would be of assistance to you ," he said.
The concept got a test run last week in Warrensville Heights.
Police were trying to deal with an increasing number of burglaries.
But extra patrols weren't working. Five deputies helped out including some undercover and a gun-toting suspect was arrested.
Residents Chris and Jeannette Austin are glad the deputies moved in.
"You can always use extra law enforcement . It's definitely a good thing the deputies came out here," Chris said.
Jeannette said, " Whatever protection we can get to help young kids is more than honorable to have. We need protection 24/7."
FitzGerald did not think communities would be shy about asking for help because they are concerned about image problems.
18 new deputies are being hired. Rookies will be mixed with veterans in the new units that should be fully functioning and on the road by September.
FitzGerald answered those who might ask about hiring new deputies as the county continues to layoff other workers, including some later this week.
He said it is a new government with new priorities.
Current sheriff units including sex crimes and warrants will continue operations as normal.