CLIFTON, OH (FOX19) - The public lobby at Cincinnati Police District 5 headquarters permanently shut down early Sunday after a FOX19 NOW investigation exposed concerns over conditions inside.
City and police officials are trying to relocate all of the approximate 135 officers working in 60-year-old Ludlow Avenue building as quickly as possible.
They are moving the officers into a temporary location until the city's former permit center on Central Parkway is renovated into new headquarters that will be ready in 2019.
FOX19 NOW was first to tell you about issues related to District 5 in a series of investigative reports that began in November 2016. The police union president, Sgt. Dan Hils, exclusively invited Morning Digital Producer Jennifer Baker in with cameras to expose what he said were "shameful" conditions inside.
Hils reached out to us for help after he said he received several complaints about the facility, one police commanders past and present unsuccessfully tried for years to convince city leaders to replace.
As our cameras rolled, the police union president pointed out concerns about mold, asbestos, spiders, a bed bug infestation, mice, a leaky roof and cramped quarters.
Many of those issues echoed ones the current District 5 commander, Captain Bridget Bardua, outlined in a lengthy 2015 City Hall presentation that included photos.
After our tour, Hils asked the city to conduct air quality tests that came back, according to the city manager, giving the building a "clean bill of health."
Still, concerns persist, especially 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 has said our reporting prompted officers with health concerns and those who have been touched by cancer to come to him and share their stories.
Six under the age of 60 who died in 2015 and 2016 concern him in particular, he has said. Five of them spent most of their shifts in the building.
Hils said he thinks there could be a link between the building and cancer, though there is no known tie between the two.
"Most of the people that worked there started to believe there could possibly be a link between there, that location, and an illness, the fact that they were being left there for any period of time made them feel abandoned, made them feel left out," he wrote.
Mayor John Cranley and Chief Eliot Isaac say they want all of officers out of the D5 by year's end.
Anyone wanting to make a police report now will have to go to one of the other Cincinnati Police locations. Or, they can do it online
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