Friday, February 4, 2011
The body language of both the mayor and FOP president is one of defiance. They are of course defiant that the city manager has called off the search for a new police chief. Furthermore, they are also quite perturbed the proposal to merge Cincinnati Police Department with Hamilton County Sheriff's office.
Mayor Mallory said, "I'm not giving away any secrets or strategies, but I will say one thing: I've never felt so strongly about anything as a mayor. The city will continue to have a police department."
Of course the whole reason this proposal exists is because of the city's budget which almost lead to 100 firefighters and 134 police officers to be laid off. If you were to ask the average Cincinnati resident what Mayor Mallory feels strongest about, they would probably say the street car.
I can't really take anything FOP president has to say seriously because no police department means no more FOP job for her.
Hamilton County has many small neighborhoods that over the years formed their own fire and police departments. For example, St Bernard with just 6,000 residents (according to a 2000 census) has both a fire and police department even though they are surrounded by Cincinnati jurisdictions. Such practices has created 40 separate police and fire departments in Hamilton county.
Fire departments have been looking into regional departments but run afoul of politics. Politicians jump in front of the camera and swear no one can do the job as well as their department. Fair enough but apparently this hasn't stopped areas like Louisville from creating regional or metropolitan police and fire.
FOP president Harrell would argue that the Louisville consolidation was done and yet no savings were realized (she hired at least one consultant to come to Cincinnati and spreading the word of how bad an idea consolidation would be).
Okay but has either the mayor or the FOP come up with a way to fix the budget? The new casino is being built along with the Banks. More officers, not fewer, will be required. However budgets will continue to shrink especially with gas likely to rise to $4.00 per gallon by Memorial Day.
Cincinnati Police stands could lose 100 police officers in 2012 due to the DROP program. CPD has not run a police academy in several years and probably won't until 2013. The Hamilton County Sheriff's office has figured how to run one that just started a few weeks ago.
The arguments will continue to be based on politics and not reality. The reality is New York City, with over 8 million people, has just one Metropolitan police department. Why, beyond the political bluster, could a city and country merger not work?