Chief Craig says he's learning the cha-cha from his professional partner Bonita Brockert

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig will be hanging up his gun belt and putting on his dance shoes for this year's local "Dancing For The Stars" competition.

Craig and seven local celebrities will raise money for the Overture Awards, which provides arts scholarships for area students.

Craig says he's pulling out all the guns in hopes of dusting his competition with his fancy footwork.

"My competition, they're already beaten. They're concerned about me. They're beaten. I hope they see this report because I want them to know. Sit out. We will just perform and it's over," Craig said jokingly as he practiced with his partner at Step-N-Out Dance Studio in Covington.

During my exclusive interview with Craig in Portland, Maine last summer, when it was announced he would be Cincinnati's new police chief, we talked about how he liked to dance.

"You set me up from day one. I want to tell you you are responsible for this. I'm in Portland, Maine trying to do police work. They see a coffee cup with my picture on it. Then she said what do you like to do in your spare time. Well, I'm a decent dancer. That was it," Craig said.

Craig was soon invited to join the cast for the 2012 Cincinnati Arts Association "Dancing for the Stars" competition.

His professional partner is two-time champ Bonita Brockert.

"She's the best. No stress. She has never yelled once," Craig said.

Brockert's strategy to win again is teaching Craig the basics of the cha-cha.   

"Just really the way I would teach any new student. No fancy choreography. Just good basic recognizable cha-cha. And that's what we're doing," Brockert said.

Craig will be competing against seven local stars including WGRR-FM's Janeen Coyle, Wells Fargo Investments financial advisor, Peter Hiltz, and the founder of Bad Girl Ventures Candace Klein.

The other contestants taking to the dance floor are plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Leadbetter from the Plastic Surgery Group, creative director of Accent on Cincinnati Joe Rigotti, event planner Moe Rouse, and marketing director of the Cincinnati Art Museum Regina Russo.

The competition is Saturday, April 14, at the Music Hall Ballroom.

The event is sold out, but we'll have it covered for you on WCPO.com and on 9 News at 11.

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