Police commander commits to better quality of life
by Dustin Brady

(Plain Press, October 2007) The new commander of Cleveland Police’s Second District, Keith Sulzer, promised residents of Ward 14 a renewed commitment to improving quality of life at their community forum on August 24.

Sulzer, commander since early August, was the guest speaker at the forum. He outlined his quality of life initiative and answered residents’ questions and concerns, promising to look into residents’ complaints.

“I will return your calls,” Sulzer said at the forum, “I cannot promise you that I will solve all your problems, but I can promise that I will do my best to solve them.”

In the new initiative, extra police forces are sent once a week to crack down on crimes that affect quality of life. According to Sulzer, police issued over 40 misdemeanor citations for offenses ranging from loud music to curfew violations in the initiative’s first week.

“We’ve had tremendous results,” said the commander in a phone interview. “If people know they can’t get away with these little things, they’ll be less likely to commit other crimes.”

Many neighbors at the forum were pleased with the initiative, but were still worried that it would not take care of the rowdy bars and nightclubs on Storer Avenue. Sulzer said that he is aware of the problem and has increased police presence on that street. Storer is part of the area targeted by the quality of life initiative.

Henry Senyak, Lincoln Heights Block Club co-chair, was one of neighbors who asked about the bars. He was very pleased with the commander’s attitude. “He seems like a very no-nonsense, solid guy. I feel like he will fit in well and get the job done,” said Senyak.

Ward 14 councilman Joe Santiago was also pleased with the work of the commander. “We have formed a great partnership,” he said. “I think people are going to be very happy with the results of the new commander and the teamwork we have with him.”

Santiago says that he was in the commander’s office from the very beginning discussing problem areas. He is working with police to control what he feels are the three biggest problems in Ward 14 – drugs, vandalism, and domestic violence.

Both Santiago and Sulzer stressed, that to fix these problems and improve quality of life, citizens must report every incident no matter how small.
Citizens are urged to first call the Cleveland Police non-emergency line, 216-621-1234.

If the responding officer does not solve the problem, the citizen should contact his councilman.

Sulzer says that if the councilman is not able to solve a problem, concerned citizens can call his office as a final step. The direct number for the Second District commander’s office is 216-623-5205.

The new commander is a graduate of St. Edward High School and the College of Wooster. Throughout college and after graduation, he worked at U-Haul on the corner of W. 16th Street and Clark Avenue.

Sulzer joined the Cleveland Police Department in 1990. His last appointment was for two years in the Fourth District as captain. He has spent his entire seventeen-year career in a patrol car handling complaints.

As commander of the Second District, Sulzer serves parts of Wards 13 through 17. He says that the Second District is different from any he’s ever worked because the community is so available. “The community here demands good service,” he said, “and I think they deserve it.”

(See related photos here)


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