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Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb proposes raising the age limit for police cadets to address the city's shortage of cops....By Clevelanndurbanews.com, Ohio's Black digital news leader

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Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb

Clevelandurbannews.com and Kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com

Staff article

Latest RISE Effort By Mayor Bibb Will Increase the Maximum Age from 40 to 55 to Help Address Staffing Shortage

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb is proposing an amendment to a city ordinance that will raise the maximum age for police cadets to be appointed to the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) to 55 years old.  The proposal, if passed, would amend an ordinance passed in September 2012 that capped the age at 40.

The  proposed amendment is part of the mayor's RISE initiative and must be cleared by city council to become effective.

RISE (Rasing investment and safety for anyone) was created by the mayor to address public safety, heightened city crime in the majority Black major American city, and police issues. The city has a shortage of police officers, and that too is one of the mayor's concerns.

"Solving multilayered problems requires multi-pronged approaches, which involves historic investments, leveraging partnerships, and updating policy, all key components of my RISE Initiative announced less than four months ago," said Mayor Justin Bibb, the city's fourth Black mayor.  "This latest amendment will help attract additional candidates to join our police force who may have previously not considered doing so.  We're hopeful this change, combined with other recent actions my Administration has taken, will help improve our overall recruitment efforts within our Division of Police."

The city's second youngest mayor, Bibb, 36 won a run-off election for mayor in 2021 by a landslide, after his campaign promised police reforms and investment in city neighborhoods. The city remains a party to a consent decree for police reforms with the U.S. Department of Justice, which was enacted behind several police abuse complaints by residents and  excessive force killings by police of unarmed Blacks.

The Bibb administration has increased pay up to 25% for police officers since the mayor took office in 2022 Last month, the mayor announced the largest increase in the city's history, making CDP's top patrol officers the highest paid among the largest cities in the state of Ohio.  This past summer, at the City's first-ever Public Safety Summit, Mayor Bibb announced a major commitment targeting cadets – increasing their pay by 50%, offering up to a $5,000 sign-on bonus, reimbursement for prior OPOTA certification, and marked improvements for those entering the force with a college degree or military experience.  The City's Department of Public Safety saw an extraordinary surge in 3rd Quarter applications with more than a 45% increase in volume since that announcement.

Similar efforts to increase the age limit of applicants are being explored by agencies like the New York State Police, and in other states like Texas, and in the U.S> military – where the Air Force increased its age limit to 42 just two weeks ago.

"We remain committed to attracting the best candidates to join our ranks and this proposal supports our vision to continue to evolve as a progressive police agency," said Police Chief Wayne Drummond.  "This will allow us to reach more individuals who are interested and capable of serving our community.  We're grateful to Mayor Bibb, as well as City Council, for their support in making progress in our recruitment efforts."

The aforementioned is the latest component of Mayor Bibb's RISE Initiative , he says.

Other recent RISE efforts led by the Bibb administration include expanding the City's SAFE SMART CLE, camera sharing program, expanding ShotSpotter technology to all five police districts,  partnership programs   with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department to enhance safety downtown, and expanded partnerships with both the Ohio State Highway Patrol and U.S. Marshals Service.

According to the mayor, these strategic efforts have produced tangible results, including hundreds of arrests of gun seizures,  dangerous pills and other drug seizures, as well as stolen vehicles.  The number of registered cameras has also seen a tremendous increase by more than 850% under RISE, he says, as he continues to urge residents and businesses to sign up.

Those interested in becoming a police officer with the Cleveland Division of Police can apply online.

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