D5 police headquarters moves to College Hill March 30

College Hill Plaza (www.loopnet.com)
College Hill Plaza (www.loopnet.com)

COLLEGE HILL, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police District 5 headquarters will temporarily relocate to College Hill at the end of March.

The police department entered into a lease agreement for 13,000 square feet of office space at College Hill Plaza off Hamilton Avenue, Chief Eliot Isaac wrote City Manager Harry Black in a memo Thursday that city officials released Monday.

This location will house all District 5 personnel until a permanent new police station is constructed, according to the memo.

"During the next few months, the leased building will undergo modifications to increase the safety and security of the facility," the chief wrote

It's anticipated all officers and staff will move in March 30.

The District 5 police station on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton has been embroiled in a controversy over health and air quality concerns for more than a year.

FOX19 NOW was the first to tell you about concerns over air quality and working conditions inside the 60-year-old building in a series of investigative reports that began in November 2016.

FOX19 NOW Investigates Cincinnati Police District 5 headquarters

From 2015-2016, there have been six cancer-related deaths and 13 cancer diagnoses of staff under the age of 60 he believes are linked to the D5 building, according to Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Dan Hils.

In all, he has said, more than 30 past and present District 5 workers over the years have been diagnosed with cancer. The police union has been updating the list, and it has grown substantially to about 90, according to Hils.

No one's cancer has been linked to conditions at the building. And air quality tests the city conducted in December 2016 at Hils' request found no major problem, essentially giving the building a "clean bill of health," Black has said.

Still, Black recommended early last year that a new headquarters go in the city's former permit center off Central Parkway and agreed to relocate some staff who spent most of their shift in the building.

A federal cancer cluster study also was launched in November at the request of city and police officials after we began asking them back in February if they were going to pursue it.

The building closed to the public in October, and several officers and civilian employees were relocated to another police facility until a new building is ready.

About 90 patrol officers are still working out of the facility.

"I wish they could move sooner," Hils said Tuesday. "I just went to a funeral Saturday of a 60-year-old lady, a civilian police department employee of District 5. Another cancer victim. I do not know when or if it will come up again. That is why I pushed the last council hard."

District 5 covers neighborhoods in the northwest portion of the city including Northside, Mt. Airy, Clifton and other areas around the University of Cincinnati.

In September, after yet another District 5 worker was diagnosed with cancer - a beloved lieutenant who worked there several years - Hills held a press conference in front of the building. He called on the city and Mayor John Cranley to move the officers out by Christmas.

Last month, city leaders proposed and then postponed a plan to build a newly constructed, $17 million headquarters at the 3.85-acre site.

They are now expected to take up the issue again and schedule a vote soon.

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