CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley sought to clarify the Cincinnati Police Department’s new response plan Tuesday amid fears of a police “enforcement hiatus” or “crime holiday” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the new response plan, announced Monday, police will suspend in-person responses to several categories of service calls.
Details of the plan, including a list of calls for which police might not physically arrive, can be found here.
During a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, Cranley says the response to the new plan was “misinterpreted,” causing “unintentional, unnecessary concern.”
“It didn’t mean what many people thought it was saying, and that’s partly our fault, and we want to apologize for that,” he explained. “Let me be very clear: All crimes will be enforced, all crimes will be responded to. There is not a crime holiday. There is no hiatus on enforcement. We have to protect our police officers and we have to be careful in the ways in which we enforce, but we will enforce all laws.”
Cranley continued: “All assaults and physical violence will be responded to immediately, and we are deeply sorry if anyone misinterpreted what we were trying to say yesterday.”
He went on to describe an example of what people might see from the new response plan.
Paraphrasing the mayor: If there is a noise complain at 3 a.m. where your neighbor is playing loud music and you can’t sleep, and you call in that noise complaint, police will address it, respond, and suppress that illegal activity.
However, because the city is trying to limit the opportunity for people to spread the coronavirus, as long as police address the loud music, they may not show up at your door and tell you about it personally.
“That is what we are trying to say,” Cranley said. “It came out clumsily. We didn’t mean it that way.”
CPD Chief Eliot Isaac also released a statement on the plan Tuesday:
“I want all of the residents and visitors to Cincinnati to understand that the Cincinnati Police Department is ready and able to respond to any emergency call from the public. Our recently implemented Differential Response Plan is intended to limit the exposure of our officers and the public to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our desire is to continue to provide the highest level of police service, while maximizing our efficiency and effectiveness.
“To be clear, all of the calls for service listed in Differential Response Plan will be policed adequately and dealt with to remove/resolve the illegal acts. None of those illegal acts are condoned and all will be suppressed/resolved. In addition, assaults and all physical harm and immediate threats to property will be responded to in person when requested.
“Whenever someone is in physical danger the police will respond in person. All other listed calls for service will also be responded to, and sufficiently addressed, but may or may not involve in person contact with the complainant. For example, if a noise complaint is resolved, an officer will not be required to discuss with the original complainant in person, but someone will talk to the complainant by phone, and the noise complaint will be addressed.
“Please know that the men and women of the Cincinnati Police Department are here to serve you and we will be there for you when you need us. We are grateful for the support and encouragement our Department has received from citizens at this challenging time and we appreciate the cooperation and compliance we have received as well.”