Cincinnati Ready To "Refresh" 2002 Collaborative Agreement

Jun 2, 2017

Cincinnati city leaders announced Friday a proposal to "refresh" the racial collaborative policing agreement that was negotiated in 2002.

Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry Black and others presented details during a press conference at city hall.

"Cincinnati is not afraid to look at itself and self-reflect," Black said. "Cincinnati is always looking for ways and opportunities to improve. This is yet another example of the city's commitment to continuous improvement."

The collaborative was negotiated to settle several pending lawsuits against the city's police department alleging discrimination, racial profiling and excessive use of force.  

The collaborative involved several parties including the city, the U.S. Justice Department, the Fraternal Order of Police and community groups including what was then known at the Cincinnati Black United Front.

It followed the civil unrest in 2001 after a white city police officer shot an unarmed black man in Over-the-Rhine.  

The police department changed its use of force policies, began to document encounters with residents, setup an independent civilian review process, and launched community problem-oriented policing.

The city announced Friday that Saul Green, who was appointed by a federal court judge to monitor implementation of the agreement, is being hired to assist with a review and refresh of the agreement.  That monitoring ended in 2008.

City leaders acknowledge that while many reforms remain in place from the agreement, others have lapsed or been given less priority because of budget constraints and leadership changes in the city's police department.

According to the city, Green and his team will be working on four primary components between now and February.  They include:

  • Evaluation and Accountability: Establishing and implementing a standardized, accountable evaluation process on the plan’s provisions including community problem-oriented policing, bias-free policing, arrests, risk management, training, the Citizens Complain Authority (CCA), and community input.
  • Community Engagement: Enhancing the role of the CCA by utilizing them as a neutral party to ensure strong community engagement as an essential component in managing public safety and community problem oriented policing.
  • Independent Review: Green and his team will conduct a CA review and provide the City with a progress report identifying areas for further scrutiny, recommendations and feedback.
  • Action Steps: The City will work with Green, community and CA agreement stakeholders to develop specific action steps and completion timetable to include a reporting template.

"I can't think of a community that has said let's look back and see what has been done, how were we on implementation and how are things going," Green said. "There are probably going to be some things that are going great; there may be some things that clearly need to be brushed up on."

The police department will do an internal review, and then Green and his team will review that information and prepare a report with recommendations.

There will also be a chance for community members to be involved with a survey asking for views on public safety.

"Can we have both public safety and racial fairness," asked resident Iris Roley. "That was always in the forefront of the Cincinnati Black United Front's mind. Is the Citizen Complaint Authority responsive to community concerns? These are questions that we need answered."

Mayor Cranley announced in his State of the City address last fall that he was going to seek a "refresh" of the collaborative agreement.  He noted a number of changes in policing since the plan was first negotiated.  He said that included the implementation of a body camera program for city police officers.