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Cincinnati Council To Vote On A Series Of Police Reforms

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati's Law and Public Safety Committee voted on a series of proposals Tuesday to reform the police department by holding it accountable and making it more transparent. The full council could pass the measures in the next month.

Committee Chairman Christopher Smitherman had the job of trying to flesh out the series of ideas and create concensus between committee members, police and the Black United Front. One measure would require police to report to the law committee if a minor child is tased.

"The point is that collecting information and providing transparency and empowering whoever is the next chair of law and public safety is to be able to look at this information, to make it available to this committee, I think is important." Smitherman says civilian oversight is key.

Other proposals on their way to the full council include:

  • Review area police partnerships (ex: Norwood, Golf Manor) to make sure they have the same policing policies.
  • Prohibit tasing if a child is of small stature.
  • Have police misconduct records available online.
  • Ban the hiring of officers who have been fired or have resigned while being investigated for misconduct.
  • Require the department to put arrest records online in real time.
  • Fully fund the Citizens Complaint Authority.
  • Create a pilot program that could assist the police in areas of mental health and substance abuse calls.
  • Apply laws and policing fairly to eliminate disparities.
  • Further develop juvenile problem solving.

Providing timely arrest records for the public online has been a sticking point for the Black United Front. It has implied in the last few weeks that the police department has been dragging its feet.

Collaborative Agreement Sustainability Manager Jason Cooper told the council committee that the city is in the process of updating its records management system, which is several generations behind due to funding constraints. "Updating that system will enable us to do better analysis and evaluations that we've not had the capacity to date because of some limitations," he says.

FOP President Dan Hils was the first to speak in the public portion of the meeting. He says a lot of crime data can be misleading. "The Cincinnati Police are doing the right thing. They are not discriminating. They are the ones that are going out there each and every night. So less pro-active policing will lead to more lives lost." 

But 13-year old Jeremiah Thornton praised the committee's actions saying, "My generation deserves better. We need safety and justice reform."

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.