Cincinnati police have new plan to police downtown - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cincinnati police have new plan to police downtown

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

  

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Cincinnati police have a new plan to make downtown more inviting. The department is working with the City Manager's office to open a new field office in the new Banks project.

 

The City Council Finance Committee approved the idea at Monday night's meeting. It now needs final approval from Council.

Police Chief Tom Streicher calls the new station a welcome center; a place where visitors and residents can come and get help on everything from where to pay for a parking ticket to where to buy a burger at 2 a.m.

"Let people feel that this is a place that you can come get help," Chief Streicher said. "You can come get information. You can come and get just about anything you need here. As long as it's legally, ethically and morally okay, you can come in and get some help."

There's already a smaller police office on Fountain Square, but this proposed 4,100-square-feet space will be open 24-7. It'll also be just feet away from everything.

"Now when we've got high water on the river," Streicher said. "If a flood occurs, something like happened in 1997, and we want to have a continuous oversight of the area that's affected by the flood, we'll be able to put people right on top of the situation."

Streicher said there won't be any new hires. He said 50 police officers already working for two units downtown will be transferred to the welcome center.

Streicher said the developer is donating the space and isn't going to charge the city rent.

Streicher said it should cost $500,000 to get everything up and running. Those funds will come from grants the department has already secured, as well as money the department acquires from drug busts and other asset forfeiture funds.

"In terms of the taxpayer, their donations have either already been made because we've acquired a grant, a year or two ago or your local neighborhood bad guy is going to finance the rest of the operation," Streicher said.

Trent Germano, vice chairman of Carter, one of the developers issued this statement on the project:

"We are thrilled to be working with the Cincinnati Police Department to bring a Welcome Center to The Banks. We are still working on the details of this arrangement, so we are unable to discuss specifics. But, we can tell you that if this opportunity becomes reality, it will provide numerous benefits to the residents, businesses and visitors of The Banks."

Several local agencies said they are also thrilled about the project, and believe it'll help bring in more business downtown.

"The police presence will also bring more people down during the evenings and weekends because they feel safe," said Dan Lincoln, Chief Executive Officer of Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau. "They feel welcome. I think it's a win win for everybody both out of town and in town."

Chief Streicher said the welcome center should open by the end of this year.

 

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