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Cleveland adds four temporary detectives to homicide unit during uptick in fatal violence

October 9, 2018

Cleveland adds four temporary detectives to homicide unit during uptick in fatal violence

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Police officials on Monday added four detectives to the department’s beleaguered homicide unit amid an uptick in fatal violence.

Second District Det. Daniel Zola, Third District Det. Aaron Reese, and Domestic Violence detectives Martina Latessa and Thelemon Powell will join the homicide unit for the next 120 days.

It’s believed to be the first time in the department’s history that officials added detectives to the homicide unit on a temporary basis.

Police Chief Calvin Williams will begin to fill nine vacant positions in the homicide unit. Williams will pick six detectives and three will be filled based on seniority, as laid out in the department’s contract with the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association union. 

Cleveland is on pace for its deadliest year since 1994 with 103 homicides so far this year. The city had 94 homicides through Oct. 8, 2016. That year, the city ended with 133 homicides, the most since 1994.

Several homicide detective positions have sat vacant in the years since voters approved a tax increase that would provide money to city safety forces for more officers. 

The Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum conducted a study of Cleveland homicides in 2016 and found a link between the dwindling number of detectives and the decrease in homicide cases getting solved.

The city has 14 homicide detectives and solved 50 percent of the homicides in 2017. In 2009, the city had 19 detectives, 122 homicides and solved 77 percent of the cases. 

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