East Cleveland copes with police layoffs

6:36 PM, Aug 12, 2013   |    comments
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EAST CLEVELAND -- The city's Police Department has had to deal with two huge cases recently -- the wild Cleveland police chase that concluded with two unarmed suspects shot and killed ended in East Cleveland, and accused serial killer Michael Madison is charged with murdering three woman and dumping their bodies in the city.

Those cases would tax a full-strength police department.

But East Cleveland's been coping with the layoff of 12 officers since early this year. And 10 laid-off police clerks, dispatchers and corrections officers mean taking even more police off the street.

It's meant that residents like Jacquice Davis have called for police help that never came.

She says her ex-boyfriend beat her up in May. She called police, telling them the suspect was still at her house. She waited three hours and no one showed up.

Detective Sgt. Scott Gardiner says the department is overtaxed to the limits. 

"You are probably talking hundreds of follow-ups we have not even been able to look at or get to," he said.

Police Chief Ralph Spotts says officers are being asked to cancel vacations, and some are doing the duties of three or four people.

City council voted to decrease the department's budget and Mayor Gary Norton objected.

Now Norton says the state budget oversight committee monitoring East Cleveland's financial issues has recommended restoring some of the safety funding cuts.

But it won't matter to Jacquice.

She says she doesn't feel safe and is planning to move out of the city.

And to make matters worse, three officers fearing layoffs recently left for better-paying jobs in other cities.

And a handful more are trying to do so as well, which would deplete the bare-bones, 53-officer department even more.


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