Ohio FOP says UC could cut 20 police officers

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati's Police Department could potentially have to cut 20 officers and three lieutenants from the force.

The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police met with UC's Police Chief May 1 to discuss the possibility of layoffs.

Ohio FOP rep Thomas Fehr says the chief would not confirm any layoffs but Fehr thinks the option is on the table.

One of the driving forces behind the cuts is an expired contract with University Hospital and UC Police for $2.1 million.

A UC spokesperson denied FOX19's request for an on camera interview and UC's Police Chief did not return phone calls.

"What the Chief said was the worst case scenario would be a layoff of 20 police officers and three lieutenants and he hopes it doesn't come to that," says Fehr.

UC students say they feel safe on campus because of the University's police presence.

"I see them quite a bit actually, they also patrol the surrounding areas quite a bit too so you see a lot of them around campus and off campus as well," says Nathan Hart, a UC junior.

But if the cuts become a reality, students worry about an increase in crime.

"I feel like a lot of students won't feel safe. They won't like to go out as much and I feel like that's a part, that's a big part of student life, is being able to go out and know that you're safe while doing it," says Kara Brown, a UC sophomore.

University Hospital released this statement in regards to its expired contract with UC's police department.

"We are making changes to our campus security to meet the needs of our patients and visitors at University Hospital more effectively and efficiently. Beginning July 1, the UC Health Public Safety Department will provide campus security to University Hospital, as is currently the case with Drake Center, the UC Health Business Center and West Chester Hospital. This new arrangement will allow us to enhance our security operations further."

If the officers are laid off, it would take effect July 1, but according Fehr the officers would get a 15 day notice by June 16.

The Board of Trustees are expected to meet with department heads to discuss the budget on June 26, 10 days after officers could potentially receive their pink slips.

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