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Cincy Council To Vote On Starting Police Recruit Class Sooner

Michael E. Keating

The full Cincinnati Council will likely vote Wednesday on a proposal to start a new police training class on January 3rd. 

Council's Law and Public Safety Committee approved the plan Tuesday.

It will have at least 40 recruits and that number could grow to 55 if the city receives a federal COPS hiring grant.  

Some on Council wanted the class to start in September.  But Captain Doug Wiesman said that is an unrealistic timeline.

“That entire process takes a little bit of time and we don’t want to rush it,” Wiesman said.  “We want to hire the right person for Cincinnati.  Not everybody can be a Cincinnati police officer.”

The city is trying to keep up with retirements which are reducing the number of officers.

Council Member Christopher Smitherman said there is a reason for starting the new class earlier.

“As we bring on 55 officers, graduate 50, we could have through attrition by the time we get to the end of December, we could lose 40 officers,” Smitherman said.  “We’re not yet catching up with the attrition.”

As of Tuesday, the Cincinnati Police Department had 1,017 sworn officers.  

The goal for the complement tends to change.  The city manager had suggested 1,025 in his budget proposal.  But others including some council members want it at 1,135.  

That is the number FOP President Kathy Harrell also mentions.  She also had a warning.

“So you can build all the projects downtown that you want, build your three mile streetcar, but if you don’t have a safe city and you don’t continue to hire, all those millions of dollars you have spent are going to be for nothing,” Harrell said.

The Law and Public Safety Committee also wants a report on offering a second police recruit class next year.  Police Captain Wiesman said that is possible.  

“We have the capability to put on two classes a year, it’s just that until today I’ve never heard of a plan to do two classes a year,” Wiesman said.  “We have done that in the past.  In fact for years we were putting on two classes a year.”

Council will also vote Wednesday on an ordinance to use $2 million from the city's budget surplus from the last fiscal year to begin to upgrade the police department's IT technology.