Hi! I'm Keith and I will be live-tweeting today, Wednesday, October 13, 2021, Cleveland City Council's Safety Committee "SC" Meeting starting at 10:00 AM for @cledocumenters #CLEdocumenters & @NeighborUpCle
Join us at 10:00 AM via the livestream on
@CleCityCouncil Youtube page broadcasted by @TV20Cleveland

@TV20Clevelan also provides a stream via their webpage,

Safety Committee is "responsible for the oversight of the Cleveland Police and Fire Departments, the Emergency Medical Service and the Boxing and Wrestling Commission."
Safety Committee consists of the following Councilmembers,

Blaine A. Griffin, Ward 6

Michael D. Polensek, Ward 8

Basheer S. Jones, Ward 7
Joseph T. Jones, Ward 1
Brian Kazy, Ward 16
Jasmin Santana, Ward 14
Jenny Spencer, Ward 15
Public Notice of the Safety Committee can be accessed here,

Agenda for today's Safety Committee can be access here,

Ward 8 Councilmember Michael Polensek, "I would ask the staff to start making phone calls, we must have a quorum here."

A quorum has been reached.

The meeting has started.

W8 CM Polensek reviews the rules of the Safety Committee.
W8 CM Polensek introduces Emergency Ordinance 762-2021

Emergency Ordinance

Executive Summary
EO 762-2021 authorizes "the Director of Public Safety to enter into one or more requirement contracts without competitive bidding with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for tasers, accessories, licenses, training, and certification, for the Division of Police, Department of Public Safety..."
W16 CM Brian Kazy, "Why are we going out without competitive bidding with Axon? Do they currently have a contract with the City?"

Safety Director Howard, "We do have contracts with Axon for our current tasers."
W16 CM Kazy, "When was the last time we went out for a competitive bid?"

Director Howard, "I don't have the last date. Does anyone on the Executive staff have a date?"
Deputy Chief, Cleveland Division of Police, Joellen O'Neill,

"~Ten years since we went out for a competitive bid. We use Axon's tasers & cameras together.

The last time we went out there was only one other product but it used gunpowder so we don't know of another product."
W16 CM Kazy, "I would be hesitant to renew 1 year with 4 one year option to renew."
Director Howard, "The options to renew is just that an option. We are always looking at the industry and how technology may align with the Division of Police."
W16 CM Kazy, "I understand that but I don't know if that motivates you to possibly find a better price and/or equipment for the Division of Police."
Chief of Police Williams, "Axon is an almost 20 year company that has a proven track record for technological devices. They've withstood several court challenges. It's been proven safe. That's why nearly 100% of forces use Axon."
W8 CM Polensek, What are the costs for the first year?"

DC O'Neill, "932, 560 dollars"

Polensek checks with the Clerk to see if the amount is in the legislation.

Clerk responds it is not.
W16 CM Kazy motions to hold the legislation until the next Safety Committee meeting.

W14 CM Jasmin Santana seconds.

W8 CM Polenseks interjects and would like to field questions before Santana seconds.
W8 CM Polensek, "Director is there a reason why the amount was left out of the piece?"

Director Howard, "I know it's not unusual to present pieces of legislation without the dollar amount."
Chief Williams, "We've been in the process for almost a year now. Our taser supply is getting low."

Polensek asks if Councilmembers Kazy & Santana will reconsider their motion if the legislation is amended to include the dollar amount.
Kazy, "You're talking about potentially a 5 million dollar legislation. There needs to be a dollar amount attached to the legislation. I will not reconsider."
Chief Williams, "Again, from what we've seen Axon is the only manufacturer of this device. It is effective. Probably 100% of the agencies use it now because of its effectiveness."
A discussion occurs between Council Members, the Chief of Police, and the Safety Director about interactions between the Executive and the Legislature.
Councilmembers would like more information prior to voting. Staff of the Executive were under the assumption this was standard operating procedure and that any questions be answered during the Committee meetings and/or afterwards.
EO 767-2021 is introduced.

Emergency Ordinance

Executive Summary
EO 767-2021 authorizes "the Director of Public Safety to renew the Lease Agreement with Cuyahoga County ... for the lease of certain space located on various floors of the current Police Division Headquarters at 1300 Ontario Street."
W8 CM Polensek, "2 dollar per square foot increase?"

Director Howard, "Yes, that is correct."

W8 CM Polensek, "What is the current square feet?"

Commissioner of Real Estate James DeRosa, "131,790.75 sq ft."
W8 CM Poelsenk inquires about the amount difference.

Commissioner DeRosa responds it is $263,581.50 increase.
W8 CM Polensek, "How do they justify that increase?"

Commissioner DeRosa, "They structured into the lease a 2 dollar increase with each renewal."
W8 CM Polensek, "Man, they are hosing us. What is included in the lease? What's the justification? What are they dong out of the ordinary that we are not doing there?"

DeRosa, "The concept is that the County is encouraging the City to vacate the place by increasing the costs."
W16 CM Kazy, "The increase is $263,581.50. What is the total amount?"

Commissioner DeRosa, "The total for one years is $2,108,652.00"

W8 CM Polensek, "Jeeze!"
W16 CM Kazy, "Has anybody asked the County to not increase it?"

Commissioner DeRosa, "Yes, we have asked. No, the County is not agreeable. So far, we have not been successful."

W16 CM Kazy, "So, they have not negotiated with us at all?"

Commissioner DeRosa, "That is correct."
If entered, this would be the fourth year of a contract between the City and the County to lease space while the new Justice Center is built.

Commissioner DeRosa, "I don't think we will vacate the Justice Center any time soon.
W16 CM Kazy, "Mr. Chairman to the Chief, are we reading to downsize in the Justice Center?"

Chief Williams, "Probably not."
W1 CM Joe Jones, "When I look at this particular issue in front of us, I would request to have the agreement that the City put fourth with the County. I would also like to know what are the rates being currently charged. What are the market rates? What is Plan B?"
W1 CM Joe Jones, "It is troubling that we find ourself here in these circumstances."

Commissioner DeRosa, "Lease rate is $16 per sq ft. It is 131,790.75 sq ft currently used in the Justice Center. The amount of space has been decreased as we shift people into other buildings."
Safety Director Howard, "Not so much a plan but a continuation of our evolution by going into South High School."
W6 CM Blaine Griffin, "There is a portfolio of properties of how we are trying to move outside of the Justice Center."
EO 767-2021 passes.
EO 782-2021 is introduced.

Emergency Ordinance

Executive Summary
EO 767-2021 "Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission to assist with investigating human trafficking criminal activity in the City of Cleveland & to authorize participation in eligible forfeiture sharing."
W6 CM Griffin, "When it comes to the agreement, how does forfeiture sharing break down?"

DC Pretel , "We would be 1 of 14 agencies participating. Normally cost sharing is a 20/80 split. 20 percent to Attorney General, 80 to the local agencies."
W6 CM Griffin, "I need to better understand that these renewals are year-to-year and what is the length of the entire contract?"

DC Pretel, "The M.O.U does not have an end date on it. You can end it if your dissatisfied with the situation."
W6 CM Griffin, How would the Council be kept apprised if it is not an automatic renewal?

DC Pretel, "A byproduct is a human trafficking report."

W6 CM Griffin, "I want to make sure that as part of when you report that we do get an update if we're going to continue in this..."
W8 CM Polensek, "Do we have any statistics or data broken down on a district level as it pertains to where is the greatest problem as it pertains to human trafficking?"
DC Pretel, "We don't have that data. I know there is some preliminary data but it is not Cleveland specific. There is some indications. We are going to start tracking that now."
W8 CM Polensek, "Information is power. We know there is a connection between major events, sporting events, happening in this City - believe it or not. It is outrageous we even have to deal with this in 2021. I'm just looking for as much data as we can get."
W6 CM Griffin, "These hearings would be so much easier if we had data. I don't like to see tasers held up and our guys being vulnerable. ... Director if you could please follow up and make sure we have that."
W1 CM Joe Jones, "How many Cleveland Police officers are assigned?"

DC Pretel, "One task force Officer. We have all the other agencies available to us."
W1 CM Joe Jones, "How many are assigned to the sex crimes child unit?"

DC Pretel, "We have 22 assigned to the sex crimes child abuse unit."
W1 CM Joe Jones, "How many are assigned to the sex crimes child unit?"

DC Pretel, "We have 22 assigned to the sex crimes child abuse unit."
DC Pretel offers other information about human trafficking across the State of Ohio. Dayton is the highest area for trafficking due to proximity to Canada.

E0 781-2021 passes.
EO 866-2021 is presented by departmental request. It was not on the agenda.

It authorizes "the Director of Public Safety to apply for & accept a grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, [for] the purchase...of one police boat and associated equipment."
EO 866-2021's Budget Narrative & Completed Application for Grant

W8 CM Polensek, "Where is the Boston Wailer [the current police boat]?"

CDP member, "It is in for repairs due to engine problems."

W8 CM Polensek, "So, you'll be repairing it and it will be operational by when?"

CDP member, "It should be operational by next season."
W8 CM Polensek, "So this grant will give us a second boat."

CDP member, "Yes, that is correct."
W8 CM Polensek, "I can't stress this enough about communication. This is the first I heard about the Boston. What's the name of the new boat?"

CDP member, "It doesn't have a name."

W6 CM Griffin, "The SS Polensek."

W8 CM Polensek, "As long as it isn't the SS Polensek Titanic."
After some discussion, W8 CM Polensek concludes,

"Communication. Communication. Communication. Council has a right to ask questions and to be updated as it pertains to critical services."
W1 CM Joe Jones congratulates Mrs. Hartsong (spelling?) and the Department on securing the funds.

EO 866-2021 passes.
EO 843-2021 is introduced.

Authorizes the appropriation of funds from The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and authorizes various contracts to be executed no later than Dec 31, 2024, and funds to be expended by Dec 31, 2026.

Emergency Ordinance
W6 CM Griffin, "We now have a working group that is meeting every Monday but we also said that these proposal would be vetted in each of these Committees."
W6 CM Griffin, "You will receive a line item for each of these department - police, fire, animal control - for what we are delivering from ARPA dollars."
W6 CM Griffin, "Even if and when or how we pass this out of this Committee it will still have to be approved by Council as a Whole through our working group and eventually Finance Committee. Today is not the final bite of the apple we have at these funds. "
W6 CM Griffin, "It is the first time we get to look at line by line at these department dollars."
From Page 2 of the Emergency Ordinance

Note: this not the line item requests.
Director Howard, "Mayor instructed us to make an assessment of our needs. ... The Division of Police lists vehicles and equipment requested."
Chief Williams, "The division has a list of approximately a dozen and half items, the bottom line is 10 million dollars. It starts with vehicles. ... Just know that we vetted this list for a long time and we feel these our the things we needed."
W6 CM Griffin, "How did we determine these our eligible for ARPA funds?"

Chief Williams, "The determination for what would be eligible was created by our Finance Department."
W6 CM Griffin, "I thought there would be more cameras. I see a lot of equipment built up for civil unrest. Was that one of the eligibility requirements?"
Director Howard, "Cameras are under IT. Personnel doesn't fall under these funds. It's not a focus on civil unrest but on departmental needs."
W6 CM Griffin, "There have been more every day domestic issues that I am looking at investing it and trying to figure out why we haven't invested in those things."

Director Howard, "A lot of what you are suggesting is handled by personnel."
W6 CM Griffin, "What kind of things are you doing to address gun collection? We know that car crashes have increased. We know that drones have been used for safety checks. I'm trying to understand why we haven't used more innovative tools."
CDP Member (Pretel? hard to identify they don't state who they are each time they talk] , "Our plain clothes officers do significant amount of work."
Council discusses the various vehicles requested with CDP Chief William. W8 CM Polensek asks most of the questions.
W8 CM Polensek, "I've been an advocate for front line dash cams. Are there still no dash cams?"

Chief Williams, "That is correct. We are trying to find a solution."

W8 CM Polensek comments that he hears about issues arising from stops & dash cams would prove if they exist.
W8 CM Polensek, "It's clear to me that if you've seen the fleet that we have we need to replace a lot of the cars.

We can buy new equipment but if we don't maintain things, we see how costly purchasing it is, we have to maintain things."
Director Howard agrees with Polensek re maintenance and believes that the funds requested begins to address those issues with vehicles.
W17 CM Charles Slife is present. He is not a member of the Safety Committee.
Division of Fire is present, Chief Angelo Calvillo shares their request from ARPA funds.

About 3 million dollars in total.. Station alerting system to replace existing. ... Interactive Remote learning system, tool use for training. ...
W8 CM Polensek, "There are no recommendations for vehicles yet I see reports of vehicles being poor condition."

Director Howard, "Vehicles for Division of Fire where not qualified underneath the ARPA funds."
W16 CM Kazy, "Can you explain the exhaust apparatus system?:

Wayne Naida, "All of our apparatuses have exhaust systems hooked up to it. When we start our vehicles inside our stations there is a system that catches it and exhausts it outside the building."
W16 CM Kazy, "I'm surprised that rehab is only to the Director's office. Can we get an update on the conditions of each fire station if we need to upgrade the houses themselves? Did you happen to survey frontline workers?"
Chief Angelo Calvillo, "It filters up. We looked at this carefully through the parameters expected."
W17 CM Slife comments that fund requests need to identify the urgency of acquiring the request item.
EMS is present. Commissioner Carlton details the line item requests from ARPA funds.

31 front line and spare cots
45 cardiac monitors.
15 ambulances, replace 15 out of 30 ambulances
SUVs, replace entire frontline fleet
W8 CM Polensek comments on the poor response times of EMS that he has heard and inquires about hiring practices.
Director Howard reflects on the problems of hiring,

"This is not a single solution problem. Making sure we have space for larger classes. Making sure we are hiring the correct person. Making sure people know what it means to be an EMT in Cleveland."
W8 CM Polensek again shares his concerns about response times and doing what they have to do to make sure citizens have a timely response.

Director Howard disputes that the response time is as bad as citizens have voiced.
Animal Control requests from ARPA funds is up. Manager Corey Keller is present. Director Howard summarizes their requests are for vehicles - 3 x 70,000 = $210,000.

Manager Keller, "Extremely vital and important for what we do in the City and we need to expand our fleet."
W6 CM Griffin "It is very critical that we talk about trapping these rodents like groundhogs. We are getting hammered. We got little old ladadies that are being hostage by these groundhods that are ravaging our community. I hope to wokr with you to addres."
W8 CM Polensek supports the request for vehichles for Animal Control.
Director Howard reviews IT request.

"We've identified 137 locations where we would place cameras at, approximately 17 cluster locations. Total count is 429 cameras. Multi sensor camera - north, south, east, west."
Director Howard continues, "Fixed artificial cameras to identify wrong way drivers and license plates. Pan, tilt, & zoom cameras to capture real time activity. Total costs is 4,485,400 dollars."
Seargent Garcia of the real time crime center is logged in to reflect on the camera requests but is currently not present.

Council continues with questioning.
W6 CM Griffin inquires, "Will they be cameras that will be able to be in the light poles as well as commercial districts as well as parks?"

They're waiting for Garcia.

Director Howard comments that drones aren't included as they're still conducting research.
W6 CM Griffin comments that the Council is really interested in technology and making sure the City is innovative.
Sergeant Jose Garcia is present and shares,

"We are using heat maps and GIS maps to determine the worst spots that are covered by the 619 cameras that we have now.

When we can we use all Cleveland Public Power poles when we can."
Polensek, "The whole issue of security cameras is one of the more frustrating issues I've dealt with over the years. We can see the benefits of cameras and having them. Had cameras been in the places of those crimes we would have a better ability to identify the perpetrators."
W8 CM Polensek, "We complied a list of cameras to place. Out of our list, 95% of those cameras never went up. Then we were told that the City lacked the infrastructure to transmit the data from the cameras."
W8 CM Polensek, "It's been year after year. ... This is a major issue with our citizens. They want these cameras up, especially in our commercial districts."
W8 CM Polensek, "Now we are hearing there are 17 locations, 429 cameras, for 4.4 million dollars. I want a list by ward where these cameras are going. I'm not going through this anymore. We haven't gotten what we were promised."
Director Howard, "It's the real crime center that monitors the cameras. They have either captured crimes that have happened in real time. Sending a list out to Council is counterproductive. The list cannot be sent out, it poses a significant risk to safety."
Director Howard concludes, "It would compromise the effectiveness of it."

W17 Slife, "I don't understand the reluctance to share these cameras. There are blue flashing lights. I can send a citizen out to identify the cameras. I don't understand the reluctance."
Director Howard notes the law makes an exception to keep the location of the camera secret.
After some discussion about cameras and brief appearances by other Council Members, EO 843-2021 has been approved to move out of public safety committee.
Today's, Wednesday, October 13, 2021, Cleveland City Council's Safety Committee adjourned at or around 1:36 PM.
Summary of Cleveland City Council's Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

Safety Committee approved the following emergency ordinances,

EO 767-2021
EO 781-2021
EO 843-2021
EO 866-2021
Safet Committee postponed the following emergency ordinance for further review and information,

EO 762-2021
Remember to check out Laylah Allen's recorded notes of this meeting. They should be posted soon on the Cleveland Documenter's website, access past meetings here:

To become involved and for more meeting coverage, check out documenters.org. Have questions? Think we got something wrong? Send any enquiries on the meeting or these tweets to @cledocumenters

Or email us at lcaswell@neighborhoodgrants.org

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