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Raises, Eliminating Peer Review Part Of Tentative Cincinnati And FOP 3-Year Extension

Bill Rinehart

UPDATE 12/16/20: Cincinnati City Council unanimously voted in favor of the issue Wednesday.

The city of Cincinnati and the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract extension. Salary increases are included, but major changes to grievance procedures and police records could be on the way.

If the extension is approved, internal disputes will no longer be conducted with peer reviews. Instead, disputes would be handled by a panel of three arbitrators to reach a decision. Mayor John Cranley said peer review leads to penalties being reduced two thirds of the time.

"That leads to people believing that there's no such thing as ever holding an officer - who like any other human being occasionally makes mistakes - accountable for misbehavior," Cranley said. "Obviously, in the context of this summer and George Floyd, it exacerbates racial tensions."

A new arbitration process for internal disputes is included in the contract. Three-person panels will issue a joint, anonymous decisions on the disputes.

The American Arbitration Association will provide a list of 15 arbitrators. The city and FOP will strike those names down to three. Those three arbitrators will all be neutral and mutually selected which could lead to "reinforced impartiality."

Record Expungement Procedures And Salary Increases

Record availability for police officers who were suspended could also change. Under the current agreement, records of officer suspensions of more than 30 days could be expunged after five years. The new agreement would allow records of suspensions of more than 56 hours to be expunged after seven years.

During negotiations, the FOP and the city were able to agree to wage increases for officers. The new agreement will raise wages 5% in 2021, 4% in 2022, and 3% in 2023.

In a memorandum, City Manager Paula Boggs Muething said the tentative agreement shows a continued effort at ensuring that the city's police force is one of the "most accountable forces in the country."

"Of course, it is a result of a negotiation, and neither party received everything it wanted," Muething said. "The combination of wage increases and enhanced accountability is expected to have a positive effect on the workforce, boosting morale and enabling the city to identify and correct undesirable behavior, while maintaining due process protections."

The three-year contract would run from May 2, 2021 to April 27, 2024.

The contract will be discussed at an upcoming City Council meeting. You can read the full agreement below. 

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Cory Sharber is a student at Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science. He was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Prior to joining WKMS, Cory wrote for the Murray State News as a beat writer for the rifle and tennis teams. When he’s not at WKMS, he typically listens to music, plays guitar, video games, and crams for all of the assignments he puts off.