The head of Cincinnati’s police union warned last week that an officer might die unless something was done to put more cops on the street. On Friday, one did. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that city officials are talking about all sorts of ideas to address police staffing that weren’t on the table before: A new police recruit class. More overtime pay. More money for the police department. “We can use this as an opportunity to re-examine what we’re doing,” said Mayor John Cranley. It’s a dramatic turn for a city government that one week earlier was struggling to come up with an anti-violence plan this summer with no extra overtime for police. Instead of adding to the budget, police were juggling shifts and moving officers from special units into street patrols.
For now, at least, police and city officials don’t want to talk much about budgets and staffing. The focus, they say, should be on the family of Sonny Kim, the 27-year-police veteran who was shot and killed Friday morning. With 1,000 officers still on the job, and with the city in the midst of the worst gun violence it has seen in a decade, questions about money, budgets and personnel will have to be answered soon. Would more cops have saved Kim? The most immediate question is whether more money would have made a difference Friday, but that may not be a fair question. Could any policy or budget decision have prevented suspect Trepierre Hummons from luring police to the scene with 911 calls and then opening fire on the first cop he saw?