Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says residents will have to start filing their low-level complaints and police reports online or at a police station so officers can have more time to practice community policing, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. At a City Council Public Safety Committee meeting, Williams said that the department is committed to embracing a community-policing model that would allow officers to interact regularly with residents to solve quality-of-life-problems and improve the relationship between the department and the people it serves.
“But the challenge is to reduce some of those lower-level calls for service that we get bogged down with,” Williams added. “Which means more of our residents will have to make more of those reports online or at a police station. That frees up our police officers to do more community policing.” Community policing expert and former Cleveland officer Bob Guttu said Williams is missing the point of the community-policing concept and that the chief’s contradictory comments suggest that the department doesn’t have a clear plan for instituting the model. “If people have to go down to the police station to file a complaint related to a quality of life issue, what are the community policing officers doing?” Guttu said. “What’s their job?”