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Cincinnati Leaders Seek Additional $1 Million To Address Gun Violence

john cranley eliot isaac
John Minchillo
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley (foreground) and Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac at a 2017 news conference.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Interim City Manager Paula Boggs Muething and Police Chief Eliot Isaac are asking City Council for $1 million to address a recent spike in gun violence in some neighborhoods. 

The money is coming from funds received from the state. 

Some $700,000 would be used for police overtime to provide more visibility in high-crime areas. 

"They should see a noticeable presence in officers on bicycles and officers on foot in specific hotspot areas," Isaac said.

The officials held a press conference Thursday at Grant Park in Over-the-Rhine, which was the scene of a mass shooting a couple weeks ago, where two people were killed and seven others injured in the crossfire.

Another $200,000 would fund community safety organizers within the police department. 

"(This) will help our most trouble neighborhoods, they will be able to help inform problem-solving teams," Isaac said. "They'll be able to help mobilize residents and business owners to participate in safety activities through community organizing and be able to coordinate other safety events and activities."

The chief said this program is in the early stages and additional information about it will be available in the coming weeks.

Another $100,000 would also pay for a second lawyer to work in the local U.S. attorney's office to pursue federal gun charges against some of those being arrested in the city. Currently, the city is paying for one special assistant U.S. attorney.

Meanwhile, Mayor Cranley is asking the police department to review a recent report on improving policing and promoting equal justice. 

Cranley was on a working group from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) that developed the document released Monday.

"Following the death of George Floyd, a USCM working group on police reform and racial justice was assembled and tasked with developing real, workable, sustainable recommendations to reform policing that will restore trust between officers and those they serve," states a USCM press release. "The plan made public today goes further to discuss in detail the many dimensions of this challenge and provides a roadmap for cities to improve policing and address structural racism that has plagued the nation."

Cranley said these are difficult times across the country.

"We have real race tensions and we have really too much gun violence in this country," Cranley said. "And we have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. And I believe the Cincinnati Police Department is better positioned than any department in the country to walk and chew gum at the same time, given its history of reforms, and it's embedded culture that has taken root over the last 20 years."

The police department is being asked to report on things in the report officers are already doing, and perhaps ways to implement other items in the document. 

The call to increase police department funding comes after several speakers in June asked City Council to cut the police department budget and send the money instead to human services agencies and social programs in the city.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.