University of Cincinnati hopes to set national standard with new safety and reform plan

CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati has permanently changed the way its police department conducts business.

The UC Board of Trustees approved a safety and reform plan that's been in the works since the shooting of Sam DuBose. The new standards aim to foster more cooperation and collaboration, and will also include independent monitoring.

The department hopes it can set the standards for policing for the rest of the nation.

UC's Board of Trustees doesn't normally make policy, but it stepped forward in this case to set policing standards because of the importance to the community.

"Presidents come and go, but the board level can set policy," UC Board of Trustees Chair Rob Richardson said. "This is what we expect our police to do -- for our police to be interactive with the community."

There are six principles that will guide the department: transparency, legitimacy, accountability, fairness, collaboration and innovation. They were developed in collaboration with the Community Advisory Council.

"What is means is that we're going to have policing in partnership with our community that's fair and transparent and collaborative in nature, innovative in our data-driven strategies, but also accountable to our public and to our constituencies," Robin Engel, UC's vice president for safety and reform, said.

They're also hiring an independent monitor to make sure UC officers do what they say they're going to do. Police Chief Anthony Carter said he welcomes the challenge.

"We want to be the gold standard," Carter said. "We want to be the bar, and that has to happen at some point. It's happening now, and moving forward that's what we plan on being."

Engel called it a "historic day" for the UC Police Department. She just got back from the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego. She said the agreement was the talk of the conference, with people continually asking her how it was done.

"Police chiefs around the country are recognizing that this could happen in their community," Engel said. "This could happen anywhere where you have a tragic incident, so what we're trying to do is show how you move forward from something like that, and how you can embrace your community, rebuild trust and work together in a collaborative way for a more positive future.

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