Cincinnati Police Department

A Cincinnati council committee continues a debate about whether the city's police chief should be able to commission private police officers.

It allows those individuals to perform special police duties and they typically work security details for businesses and organizations.

Jay Hanselman

The Cincinnati Police Department is celebrating the completion of its first recruit class in more than six years.  

56 officers and one firefighter who took the 26-week training courses received their commissions Friday during a ceremony in Downtown Cincinnati at The Masonic Center.  They will now spend the next 13 weeks with training officers.  

The class valedictorian was James Hutchings, who is currently a Cincinnati Firefighter.  He went thru police training to be a sworn officer inside the fire department.  Hutchings had this advice to his fellow graduates.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati has 19 new police officers. The department's first class of lateral transfer recruits in more than six years was sworn in today. The officers all came from other Ohio agencies but still had to go through the city's training process. Chief Jeffrey Blackwell calls today's graduation exciting.

The new officers will hit the ground running with their first duty assignment working the Cincinnati Reds game on Saturday. They'll be paired with field training officers on Sunday and begin working in their assigned districts.

Homeless children, teens and young adults are a rising concern for police and social workers in Hamilton County.

Lighthouse Youth Services CEO Bob Mecum says homeless kids used to mainly be unhappy runaways.

"Today we're seeing kids who are, for the most part, long-term victims of poverty, long-term victims of neglect, and physical and sexual abuse," says Mecum.

Addiction is another major problem. Mecum says heroin use today is unprecedented and often passed down to children by their parents.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati is halfway through a 90-day program of barricading parts of West McMicken Street in the city to reduce prostitution and human trafficking activities.  

District One Police Captain Michael John said there has been a disruption in the cruising related to the offenses.

Cincinnati police are erecting temporary barricades on portions of McMicken Street to keep people from cruising for prostitutes in a part of the city where sex trafficking has been rampant.

In order to combat increasing prostitution offenses on McMicken Street from Over-the-Rhine through the Clifton Heights and University Heights area, the Cincinnati police department began erecting temporary barricades on the street today to curb the cruising for prostitutes there.

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Cincinnati's Police Chief say officers responded appropriately Monday during an incident in which the suspect was fatally shot by police.

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell says officers went to the Walnut Hills home of Gregory Sanders after he called 911 saying he'd killed his mother.

"We are, at this point, pretty certain everything was above board; that every division policy was followed, says Blackwell. "The fact is that they were forced to use deadly force by Mr. Gregory Sanders who came out of the house with a rifle."

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How would you rate your interaction with the Cincinnati Police?

The department is sending out surveys asking people to rate officers following encounters ranging from traffic accidents to non-violent crimes.

The surveys are part of the National Police Research Platform's Police Community Interaction Survey on improving policing by the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Research in Law and Justice.

Lt. Debbie Bauer says Cincinnati is one of just 100 law enforcement agencies asked to participate.

Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police President Kathy Harrell had a blunt message for city council about police department staffing.

“We’re at the point right now that officers out on the street lives are in jeopardy,” Harrell said.  “I’m going to get a lot of slack for saying that, but I don’t care.  They’re out there with 187 less officers.”

Harrell testified Tuesday before Council's Law and Public Safety Committee.  

Without new officers, the department could be down 267 officers by the end of 2015.  Harrell said something has to change.

Michael Keating

The Cincinnati Police Department is gearing up for several events this spring and summer focused on engaging the city's youth.  

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell outlined the plans Monday during a city council committee meeting.  He said the goal is to get kids off the streets and into a controlled environment.  

Blackwell said one new effort will be meetings with junior and senior class leaders at the city's high schools.

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