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Mayor and police chief want $250k for overtime to combat summer crime

Theetge at podium
Becca Costello
Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge (at podium) and Mayor Aftab Pureval (left) are requesting $250,000 for officer overtime this summer.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval wants to give police an extra $250,000 for overtime to combat summer crime. The source would be federal stimulus left over from last year.

"The most effective way to address the violence is through evidence-based and data-driven policing techniques; that's why we're focusing our efforts on hotspot policing," Pureval said.

The request is part of a plan to combat the usual surge in crime during warm weather. Interim Chief Teresa Theetge says the overtime would go toward implementing safety plans developed by each district commander.

"They analyze the data very, very deeply and they come up with: these are the hours that our crime is occurring; these are the days of the week; this is how many officers I need to address it;" Theetge said. "What the money does is it allows them to have a resource, a pot of money to go to to continually implement their plan without having to stall it for financial reasons."

Theetge says the summer safety plan includes a strong focus on community engagement, especially with young people.

Overall, crime in Cincinnati has been trending down for the past decade, reaching a 10-year low last year.

Reported crimes are down about 15% in the first quarter of the year, compared to the prior three-year average. But in the same time period, shootings are up about 26% and there have been at least 20 homicides.

Council Member Scotty Johnson is a former police officer and current chair of the Public Safety committee. He says citizens should be just as involved as police.

"The city belongs to you; the city is going to be what the citizens make it," Johnson said. "So we're asking for your cooperation here this afternoon to make sure this summer doesn't end the way our unfortunate spring has begun."

In recent weeks, Pureval has announced plans for spending millions of dollars in federal stimulus money from last year, proposing re-allocations after the original purpose was deemed ineligible.

Some council members say they want to consider all the funds together instead of in pieces like this overtime proposal. Council Member Johnson says this purpose is too important for council to delay.

"In addition to that, if CPD needs more, we have to find the resources to make sure that money is there, because we're dealing with an understaffed department," he said.

Council is set to approve two ordinances Wednesday spending a total $2.1 million from the American Rescue Plan; another $5.15 million was approved earlier this year.

An ordinance with the proposed $250,000 for police overtime could be on the Council agenda within a week.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.