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Robert Higgs
By Robert Higgs October 18, 2011
Laura Johnston
By Laura Johnston October 18, 2011

Budget proposal for Cuyahoga County includes funding for community policing

As a candidate, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said residents have a right to expect safe and secure neighborhoods.  

Toward that goal, he pledged to create a Safe Neighborhoods Task Force.

The special patrol unit would  be "deployed strategically around the county to augment local law enforcement agencies," FitzGerald said in a campaign position statement.

FitzGerald unveiled his proposal for a two-year budget on Oct. 11, 2011. Next year"s proposed $576 million general fund budget includes $1 million for community policing.

Earlier this year, in May, FitzGerald unveiled his plan for the task force to Cuyahoga County police chiefs.   

He said then that Cuyahoga County sheriff"s deputies will be made available to help suburban police forces catch drunken drivers and crack robbery rings in a hot-spot-driven plan. The impact unit would consist of eight to 10 deputies. Police chiefs would be able to request their assistance for up to 10 days on a specific project.
   
The goal is to increase police presence and prevent crime across the county, not just in the most troubled neighborhoods, FitzGerald said.
   
According to Sheriff Bob Reid, his office already has had inquiries about the program. He said he hopes it will be up and running before year"s end. Reid has selected the deputies who will be on the task force and cars have been ordered for their use.

For now, the Safe Neighborhoods Task Force remains a concept.

And the budget has to gain approval from County Council, which is just beginning to conduct budget hearings. The new two-year budget won"t take effect until Jan. 1, 2012.
   
But the county executive has offered a plan to pay for the program and the sheriff has started assembling the equipment and officers it will need. Based on that, we have set the Fitz-O- Meter for this promise to In the Works.

Our Sources

Robert Higgs
By Robert Higgs June 7, 2011
Laura Johnston
By Laura Johnston June 7, 2011

Sales tax would provide money to pay for special deputies task force

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald made crime prevention and the need to bolster law enforcement a theme in his election campaign.

Residents have a right to expect safe and secure neighborhoods, he said in a position statement. Toward that goal, he pledged to create a Safe Neighborhoods Task Force. The special patrol unit would  be "deployed strategically around the county to augment local law enforcement agencies."

FitzGerald unveiled a plan for the task force on May 23 at a meeting with Cuyahoga County police chiefs at Cuyahoga Community College.

Cuyahoga County sheriff"s deputies will be made available to help suburban police forces catch drunken drivers and crack robbery rings in a hot-spot-driven plan. The impact unit would consist of eight to 10 deputies. Police chiefs would be able to request their assistance for up to 10 days on a specific project. The unit could be up and running in September.

The goal is to increase police presence and prevent crime - and not just in the most troubled neighborhoods, FitzGerald said.

"This isn"t going to be worst-first all the time,” he said "Our mission is countywide.”

Keeping the promise will cost $1 million annually, coming from a portion of the county"s sales tax revenue, and will also contribute to hiring 18 deputies in the wake of state budget cuts.

At the meeting, FitzGerald and Sheriff Bob Reid asked police chiefs for their feedback on a draft of policies and procedures for the impact unit.

The unit will be made up of both experienced deputies and new hires, according to the draft rules. No fewer than two deputies would be deployed at a time, and if too many requests conflict, the sheriff"s department will decide what takes precedence.

Deputies will drive sheriff"s cars, and local police must provide radios for the deputies, since Sheriff"s Office radios are not compatible with all suburban departments.

For now, the Safe Neighborhoods Task Force remains a concept.

But since FitzGerald has unveiled a plan to county police chiefs and outlined how it would be funded, we move the Fitz-O- Meter for this promise to In the Works.

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