Mayor promises free cancer screenings for D5 officers

Mayor promises free cancer screenings for D5 officers
Cancer rates among District 5 workers in December 2016 were displayed inside inside the police headquarters as some council members toured the building late last year. (Provided photo)
FOX19 NOW/ Jennifer Baker
FOX19 NOW/ Jennifer Baker

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is promising free cancer screenings for past and present Cincinnati Police District 5 officers not already paid for by city insurance.

Cranley and Police Chief Eliot Isaac now both say they want all District 5 officers out of the 60-year-old headquarters on Ludlow Avenue as soon as possible, but the soonest that can occur is by Christmas.

The developments came Tuesday after the union that represents Cincinnati police unanimously voted as their meeting Monday night to demand the city:

  • Move all officers out of the building immediately
  • Pay for cancer screenings for all active and retired District 5 officers.

If the city fails to comply with their demands, the union will consult lawyers, FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils wrote on Facebook after the vote.

Councilman Charlie Winburn wants Cranley to declare District 5 a health emergency and shut it down this week.

He calls the building "a deathtrap" and said in a tweet Monday night the mayor should shutter it in 72 hours.

Winburn also said he was open to a special session of council to "encourage" City Manager Harry Black to close it.

On Tuesday, Winburn said stepped up efforts, saying in a radio interview he would do whatever it takes.

He threatened legal action with the FOP on Friday to force the city to shut it down through an injunction or put a bed in the hallway outside Cranley's office at City Hall to stage a protest until it's closed.

Black released a memoTuesday outlining a portion of the city's health plan. It said in part: "Currently, the city's health plan pays 100 percent of all charges for screenings used to diagnose many forms of cancer ... unfortunately there is no single test that can screen for all cancers in the body."

The memo suggested city officials are looking into further options for retirees.

The details of this memo can be found below in PDF form.

Some District 5 officers moved Tuesday into temporary work space at the police department's Spinney Field Training Complex in Lower Price Hill.

That's a temporary fix until the city can negotiate a lease to put them in a former bank building in Camp Washington.

The city plans to renovate its old permits center on Central Parkway in Clifton into a new District 5 headquarters, but that will not be ready until 2019.

FOX19 NOW was first to tell you about concerns related to District 5 in a series of investigative reports that began in November 2016 when Hils exclusively took our cameras inside the building to expose what he said were "shameful" conditions inside.

As our cameras rolled, Hils pointed out concerns about mold, asbestos, spiders, a bed bug infestation, mice, a leaky roof and cramped quarters.

Concerns persist over a pattern of at least 30 past and present District 5 officers who have been diagnosed with cancer, including several who have died, according to Hils.

He said he thinks there could be a link between the building and cancer, though there is no known tie between the two.

City officials say air quality tests run late last year on the building at the FOP request found no problems.

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