A police/sheriff merger in Cincy- shades of things to come in Dayton?

Cincinnati is talking about outsourcing their police patrols to the Sheriff. By going through a fire/rehire, the Sheriff can put more officers on the street- and gain some economies of scale- not to mention, it’s a way to roll back salaries.

Eventually, Dayton will be looking at similar options- or, go broke trying to keep pretending that our shrinking tax base can afford to cover our sprawling community (if you look at a map of Dayton- the city looks more like an octopus than what most jurisdictions look like with nice compact borders).

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

a plan to have the Hamilton County sheriff take over city police patrols – the boldest and arguably most controversial Cincinnati budget recommendation in years….

the law enforcement merger as the only way to maintain sufficient police presence on the streets without decimating the rest of city government….

some cities across the nation starting doing so decades ago – it has generally failed to gain much traction in Greater Cincinnati, partly because of deep-rooted political turf concerns.

Even the concept of merging Cincinnati and Hamilton County police services is not fresh, having been raised occasionally over the years, often during previous budget debates.

…a two-page letter from the sheriff in which he offered to put more patrol officers on Cincinnati streets for less than the city now spends, largely due to deputy sheriffs’ lower pay scale.

The plan – under which Cincinnati would lay off 790 patrol officers, many of whom would be hired by Leis, with city money – would save City Hall about $15 million a year…

Some warned that, under the guise of improving public safety, the plan would actually undermine it by forcing demoralized city police officers to work for a new boss for considerably less salary. Others attacked the merger idea as a hardball negotiating tactic aimed at forcing the police and fire unions to instead accept $20 million in wage and benefit concessions proposed as an alternative to layoffs, a charge the plan’s originators dispute.

via How police merger idea was hatched | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com.

With Dayton still in a mess with the Department of Justice over our lily white police department- we could also offload the lawsuit and the responsibility to the Sheriff in one fell swoop.

Realistically, the quick solution to Dayton’s problem is to close down the academy except for continuing training requirements – and hire newly trained officers from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, and allow the department to do lateral hires- giving us the ability to hire veteran minority officers who are being laid off in Detroit, Cleveland and now Cincinnati- as well as hiring from other departments like Trotwood.

We can’t expect people to move into and invest in our community if they don’t feel that it’s a safe neighborhood to live in- no matter how many GE tech centers we land. Without people to occupy the houses and pay taxes – we don’t have a city.

One way or another, we need to fill a whole bunch of slots in a department that’s already stretched thin. We’ve heard little in terms of options other than to try to change from a “rule of one” to a “rule of ten” to hire from our current testing system. The Sheriff doesn’t seem to have these problems (maybe because Dean Lovelace hasn’t tried to sue him yet).

Is a Cincinnati solution in our future?

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4 Responses

  1. truddick December 19, 2010 / 10:00 pm
    Cops put themselvews on the line for all of us every day’  If you seriously think they deserve a pay cut, you’re a Kasich wannabe and I’ll have a few other choice insults for you.

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  2. David Esrati December 20, 2010 / 12:01 am

    @truddick- I don’t have a problem with the police pay- other than it’s too low. Kettering cops make about 20% more than Dayton. What I have a problem with is that between residency and our academy or bust bs- we severely limited out talent pool- getting us the inbred force we have. If it takes outsourcing to fix it- so be it. Plus, let the county deal with the workers comp, the equipment, etc- it’s a step toward regionalization.

    plus- we can stop paying the lawyers for Dean’s lawsuit.

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  3. Hudson Rush December 20, 2010 / 3:50 pm
    What to do mean by the “inbred force we have” comment?

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  4. Brad December 21, 2010 / 10:57 am
    The concept of a merger for the Dayton safety forces wouldn’t be completely out of the question.

    But it would have to be done EXTREMELY carefully.

    Should we be the “Montgomery County Fire Department” or “Dayton Metro Fire Department” in another 5 to 10 years??  Maybe… But we’d have to start with baby steps.

    And Politicians would have to step aside.  Let firemen solve firemen problems.

    A small, aggressive group of Chiefs and key Union leaders could get it done.

    For example, start with the merging of an inner-ring suburb, say Riverside or Trotwood, into the Dayton Fire Department.  Apparatus and personnel would be absorbed into the mix.  And cost saving would be quickly realized by closing facilities geographically redundant to others.

    Once that went smoothly, and other financially strapped juristictions took note, the flood gates would open.

    There would certainly be more than a few details that would need attention.  And some minor territorial and seniority pissing matches would undoubtedly occur from time-to-time.  But if the right folks got on board to lead the charge, and everyone had their thinking caps on, it could be done.

    But in order for it to ever flourish, or even work at all, it would have to occur below the political level.  That core committee would have to emerge with about 95% of the decisions already made before ever presenting it to the first City administrator or County official.

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