Clevelanders Complain: Cops Don’t Care About Minor Cases


Cleveland's Office of Professional Standards took nearly 500 citizen complaints last year about law enforcement, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Among the most difficult to resolve are those involving things like poor attitude and demeanor. Some residents feel the officers don't care. Police officers don't always sympathize with residents or agree with their perceptions of what is a crime. Resident says some Cleveland officers discourage them from reporting vandalism, property damage, or small-dollar theft. Former resident Tom Bell, who still does business in the city, said he has reported at least 10 thefts. At times, police officers told him if the total loss fell under his $500 insurance deductible not to bother reporting the crime. “But if I run a red light,” Bell said, “they’ll track me down next week. It’s a license to steal in Cleveland. It demoralizes people who come into the city with fresh energy.”

Many residents complain that patrol officers rarely are seen outside squad cars unless they are writing a traffic ticket. Walter Wright, a development specialist, said that years ago, police operated out of mini-stations, had regular contact with citizens and took care of minor complaints. “Now, the mentality seems to be, ‘screw it,’ ” he said. “Police don’t want to waste their time on trivial crimes but these crimes aren’t trivial to people.”


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