Friday, October 1, 2004

Angels graduate as police sweep

191 people arrested in two-day crackdown

By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

Funeral services for Maurice Kennedy, 17, will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at House of Joy Christian Ministries, 5918 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. Visitation is 9-11 a.m., followed by the service.

The Elder High School senior was fatally shot Sunday night near the school while trying to break up a fight. Kennedy planned to become a lawyer, inspired by the 1995 stabbing death of his grandmother, said his mother, Marshelle Kennedy-Coleman.

A memorial account has been opened at Fifth Third Bank to help the family pay for Maurice's funeral.

Elder High School also is sponsoring a yard sale fund-raiser 9 a.m. at the school, 3900 Vincent Ave., Price Hill.

PRICE HILL - As Guardian Angels graduated their first local class Wednesday night, Cincinnati police announced that a two-day, citywide crime sweep this week netted nearly 200 arrests and took drugs, eight guns and $10,080 off the streets.

The Tuesday-Wednesday sweep was conducted by police community response teams made up of various Cincinnati police units.

The sweep netted the most guns ever in a 36-hour sweep in the city, said Lt. Kurt Byrd, Cincinnati police spokesman. Police also confiscated 83.96 grams of marijuana, 155.3 grams of crack cocaine, 479.29 grams of powder cocaine and 25 doses of pharmaceuticals.

Pete Witte, president of the Price Hill Civic Club, welcomed the extra police attention. But he called for bi-weekly sweeps and more officers walking or biking main Price Hill strips such as Glenway and Warsaw avenues.

"There are many neighborhoods that have chucked it in the city, totally given it up, and it's totally decayed," Witte said. "We are a neighborhood that is embattled, but we have a side that is going to stand up and fight for this thing because we really, really love the neighborhood."

The sting generated 191 arrests:

• 46 adults on felony charges.

• 136 adults on misdemeanor charges, including 17 arrests for prostitution.

• Nine juveniles, three for felonies and six on misdemeanor charges.

Police say the sweep was scheduled before the death of Maurice Kennedy, 17, an Elder High School student who was shot to death Sunday night near the school on Glenway Avenue. No arrests have been made in that case.

Meanwhile, the Guardian Angels graduated their first local class of nine citizens Wednesday.

Seven of the graduates live in Price Hill, said Frank Lee, East Coast director of the Angels.

An 11th person, from Dayton, has been training with the group to implement a patrol there. Six more people in training expect to graduate before the end of the year, Lee said.

The New York-based Angels have been here since June, patrolling the streets in Westwood in evenings and training citizens how to fight crime in their neighborhood. They were invited by Westwood neighbors worried about violence.

Witte says neighbors have complained about a gradual decline of Price Hill and other West Side neighborhoods in recent years. He blames Cincinnati City Council for the decline.

Witte and others are calling for neighborhood residents and parents of students at Elder and Seton high schools to "jam" council chambers during an Oct. 13 evening council meeting at City Hall.

"Because residents have inquired, Witte said he will permit the Guardian Angels to address the Price Hill Civic Club.

"If the Guardian Angels are willing to come and speak with us, I am more than happy to talk to them,'' he said. "But I can't stress enough the police are our guys and gals. They are the people we count on and we know they are not big fans of the Guardian Angels."

"We aren't here to step on anybody's toes," Lee said. "This is not a pride issue. ... We are not here to score brownie points or to have a popularity contest. We are here to promote community involvement, being proactive and police community policing."


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