Cuyahoga County deputies will stop policing East Cleveland’s streets next month after helping fight crime in the city for four years.

Eight to 10 deputies used to patrol the streets, but only four are now assigned to the city. The Sheriff’s Office started the patrols in 2006 when it became difficult for the cash-strapped city to put enough cops on the road.

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton was stunned to learn about the withdrawal of the deputies. He stressed that the city has rampant crime problems and fears city police will need help once warm weather arrives.

Norton said he understands the budget constraints but questioned why Reid would still operate a patrol in downtown Cleveland if money was the issue. He believes Sheriff Bob Reid is abandoning East Cleveland residents for downtown visitors.

“I am surprised by this,” Norton said. “Maybe downtown Cleveland is a priority over East Cleveland.”

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