As Cincinnati police transfer class takes shape, gang unit moves closer to the streets

Internal interviews underway to fill gang unit

CINCINNATI -- Sixty-nine new police officers stand ready to join the force as the police department gears up to crack down on violent crime.

The new additions -- the first phase in a violence reduction plan announced earlier this year by Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell -- bring an average of nine years experience to the force and free up enough cops to create a new gang unit.

The key to the influx of new members to the ranks was the approval of lateral transfer or the hiring away of cops from other agencies. In the two weeks after the lateral transfer job was posted in February, interest in the 20 to 25 available spots ballooned.

Interest in the jobs came from all corners of the state, as far away as Cleveland, but also from surrounding areas of Cincinnati, including West Chester Township, Norwood, Blue Ash, Amelia and Loveland, according to city records.

The field of 69 candidates will be narrowed to 20 to 25 and enter an abbreviated training program. The final field will join the department and earn about $53,000.

Their addition to the force will free up officers to take on a growing gang problem.

WCPO Insiders can view an interactive graphic on crime statistics through the first quarter of the year and read more about the formation of the gang unit and its importance to public safety.

READ: Crime and justice stories from Kareem Elgazzar

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