A number of partners are continuing work to refresh Cincinnati's 2002 collaborative agreement.
That work started in June and has included three community forums, surveys of the community and police officers, and bi-weekly meetings with all the partners.
The focus is on three areas:
- Bias-free policing and officer accountability — ensuring fair, equitable, courteous treatment of all; early warning system to identify at-risk officers.
- Mutual accountability of all parties — engagement of city departments, community, other jurisdictions; oversight process by the city manager's advisory group.
- Community problem-oriented policing strategy — problem solving adopted by the city and parties as the principle strategy to address crime and disorder problems.
The city and partners sent written reports to Saul Green, who was appointed by a federal court judge to monitor implementation of the original agreement. The city hired him to assist with the review and refresh. Green has made initial comment and recommendations on all three areas.
"With respect to bias-free policing and mutual accountability, we agree with all of his recommendations and we have accepted all of his recommendations," City Manager Harry Black told a city council committee Monday. "We're still doing a little bit more work with the problem oriented policing strategy. CPD is providing some supplemental data and information to the consultant as a means of supplementing whatever report they're going to provide us in that regard."
Black told City Council a comprehensive work plan will be developed for each area. He said implanting those plans will be a long-term endeavor.
"This is not a six-month deal. It's not a three-month deal. It's not a one-year deal," Black said. "This will be an ongoing, multi-year process in terms of implementing these recommendations. Some will be easier to implement, and quick to implement. But others will take more time because they will entail interfacing and partnering with external entities that may or may not have the resources to partner in the way that we want to partner. So, it may take some time for us to work with them."
Later this spring, the collaborative refresh team will present final recommendations, fiscal/resource impact projections, action steps and request for legislative action, if needed.
The collaborative was negotiated in 2002 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.
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.