At first I wondered why Cincinnati needed an outsider to lead its police division. We had done quite well over the years with native sons like Jake Schott and Michael Snowden who hailed from Western Hills High School. Interspersed with a couple of Elder High School grads, Larry Whalen and Tom Streicher. Hometown guys who knew the neighborhoods and issues facing the city.
In their estimation city fathers, most notably Manager Milton Dohoney and Mayor Mark Mallory, thought it would be helpful to break with the past and cast a wider net for Streicher’s successor.
Enter James Craig. Exit old thinking.
For a guy who wasn’t from here, James Craig quickly grasped what was important to Cincinnatians: accountability, honesty and peace in the streets. Leavened with a get-out-among-the-people attitude burnished by his affable personality. Good for us.
But the lure of his hometown, Detroit, proved too much for us to lay long-term claim to Chief Craig. Motown was where his family resided —along with his heart. And so it was that just over a year ago, he took on one of the biggest challenges a law enforcement professional could embrace: Presiding over the crime ridden streets of his hometown. Population 700,000. A city in free fall, on the verge of declaring bankruptcy with an average police response time of over 50 minutes for its 3,000 uniformed officers.
Chief Craig is making headway along with headlines. Case in point, a cover story in this month’s “America’s 1st Freedom”, a publication of the National Rifle Association.
Insiders can see what Craig said in that article about gun ownership.