It's been less than two weeks since Cincinnati District 5 police officers moved to their new temporary headquarters in College Hill, and already there are concerns about their safety and security of their personal vehicles.
A police officer's car was damaged in the 1600 block of Llanfair Avenue Monday afternoon. At the time, it was in a parking lot marked for police vehicles behind the district's temporary headquarters at College Hill Plaza off Hamilton Avenue.
"A young man got up on the hood of the car and jumped up and down on it several times and damaged the police officer's car," said Sgt. Dan Hils, police union president.
The vandalism does not appear to be random, he said.
"It's a personally owned vehicle and (the parking lot) was clearly marked for police officers so one would suspect it was somebody intentionally doing something because it was a police officer's car," he said.
A 17-year-old has been arrested in the case.
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The crime is making some residents uneasy.
"It makes me a bit nervous that someone would be so bold to do that," said Anton Boggan, a College Hill resident.
District 5 uniformed officers moved to College Hill April 1, leaving behind their former headquarters on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton.
They were eager to vacate their old building after longstanding concerns over working and health conditions inside.
Several officers suspected the building was linked to cancer diagnosed among dozens of current and former District 5 employees, but federal health officials recently concluded evidence doesn't suggest a connection.
"I think the officers felt strongly that it was better they vacate a place that should have been vacated years ago," Hils said.
But now there are growing pains with District 5's temporary relocation to the College Hill strip center.
"I do think everybody's a bit uncomfortable because a couple of weeks ago that was just a Family Dollar parking lot for most of the residents here. Now we have to share it with police and they took all the parking spaces," said Boggan.
There is not adequate parking for all of the officers, Hils said. And, unlike most police stations, it lacks a secure area for police to leave their personal vehicles and enter the building.
Hils said this is a safety issue that must be addressed.
"That's why I lobbied for a permanent structure that has secure parking and a secure building," he said. "We are in the day and age of terrorism so I think that decision should be made as quickly as possible."
Police officials said Monday they hope to have a permanent site selected for a new District 5 headquarters by this fall.
Late last year, city leaders proposed a plan to build a newly constructed, $17 million headquarters at the 3.85-acre shopping plaza site.
The facility would need to house a minimum of 130 officers and other employees and allow room for future growth and community engagement.
It's not clear yet, however, if the new headquarters will go in College Hill or what year it might be ready.
In the meantime, the current building has surveillance cameras in the back of the building where officers park.
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