FOP cites no confidence in Columbus mayor for spike in homicides, lack of officers
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- The Fraternal Order of Police is demanding more officers and resources to combat the rise in crime in Columbus.
The FOP also saying they no longer have confidence in the mayor, council president, and safety director's ability to lead.
FOP President Jason Pappas says he wants an immediate response from Mayor Andrew Ginther with 80 homicides so far this year, shootings that have put children in the hospital and officers who have been stretched thin.
Pappas says Columbus police needs at least 100 additional officers to get the job done.
"We're losing our community. We're losing our neighborhoods to the crimes and drugs and we have to stop it now," said Pappas.
There's frustration from the FOP over bloodshed in the city and what Pappas calls a lack of manpower and resources to turn things around.
"Just this year we've had 5 children shot in their own neighborhoods some in their own home," said Pappas.
A 6th child was added to the tally after being shot Friday night, about an hour after the FOP demanded action from the top.
"These are the mayor's responsibility. I'd be happy to take his phone call. That hasn't happened," said Pappas.
The city logged it's 80th homicide Thursday night. This time last year, there were 59 homicides in the city, which ended with 106 homicides and that number was up from 99 in 2015.
"We are on pace for the deadliest year ever in Columbus," said Pappas.
Pappas says homicide investigators are taxed.
"For every minute they're spending on one homicide, that's one that they're not spending on another," said Pappas.
"One homicide in our community is too many," said Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Pappas says officers are also stretched thin with medical runs stemming from the drug epidemic.
"The residents are the ones who are suffering. It's their neighborhoods that are plagued," said Pappas.
Billboards like this downtown highlight the FOP's frustration.
"Allocate the resource, commit to hiring the additional officers and reinstitute the level of budget funding that was there after the tax increase," said Pappas.
Mayor Ginther insists money and resources have been pumped into public safety.
"We're formulating our budget for next year. We had a class this year,a group graduation about a month ago and we're going to continue to fund classes in the futures," said Ginther.
The FOP maintains the city is not keeping a promise it made to voters in 2009 to devote money from a tax increase to public safety. FOP numbers show the city's funding for public safety has dropped by 3% or $21 million since 2011.