Federal money for more Cleveland police is not what city needs right now


Operation Relentless Pursuit and Operation Legend promise to provide federal funding to increase the number of police officers in Cleveland and to provide new policing equipment and technology. Today, Cleveland has approximately 1,600 police officers and a population of about 383,000. In 1992, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Cleveland had 1,668 police officers; at that time, about 503,000 lived in the city. Yet, as the number of police officers per resident has gone up, so has the homicide rate, from 16 per 100,000 residents in 1997 to 35 per 100,000 in 2016.

In July, civil right advocates submitted a letter to the U.S. House Committees on Appropriations and Oversight and Reform, asking that Operation Relentless Pursuit be stopped because it serves “only to continue the legacy of systemic racism and criminalization of minority communities.” An increase in incarceration may not be the solution to our current crisis.

Cleveland has just been ranked as the poorest big city in the nation. This federal push for more police officers is being rolled out in Cleveland, rather than addressing problems of inadequate housing, joblessness, underfunded schools, environmental injustice, and limited social services, all of which need greater local and federal support. Are we sure more police officers are what we need right now?

Linda New,

Olmsted Falls

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