Jeffrey Blackwell: New Cincinnati police chief wants more professional look

Hats are in, short sleeves are out

CINCINNATI – It has been a whirlwind 10 days since Jeffrey Blackwell became Cincinnati's police chief.
He has been on a non-stop tour of meet-and-greets to get to know Cincinnatians.

"They've been very welcoming, so I am excited,” Blackwell said Thursday.  “A little tired because I've been working 10-, 12-, 14-hour days, but I'm excited."

Blackwell told 9 On Your Side he doesn't have to reinvent things or make a lot of changes because this is a very fine department. So right now, he's trying to make processes better with some minor changes.

As Blackwell attended the Cincinnati Firefighter Memorial service on Thursday, word circulated that one change he wants is hats worn for special events and details like Reds and Bengals games.

"Everyone knows I'm a hat guy, so I think there are times such as this where officers, if they were here, should have their hats on,” Blackwell said. 

 And the chief is streamlining what uniform can be worn at what time.

 "We're going to have dates for long-sleeve shirts where they will be mandatory.  No more short sleeves,” Blackwell said.  “We're going to consolidate our uniform choices - things like that so we can up the professionalism."

Engaging young people tops the chief's to-do list and he says he's not letting any dust settle on his ideas.

"I have had preliminary meetings with some members of my staff to get those initiatives started," he said.

Homicides are up sharply in Cincinnati and Blackwell’s charge is to find out why and curb the killings.

"I don't know, but violence is starting to peak and we are looking at that very seriously," he said.

Specific solutions are still in the works, but one part of the plan will be CIRV -- the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence.

"They play a huge component in this and I'm going to be meeting with folks from CIRV and looking at that and how it plays into our overall crime-fighting strategy," Blackwell said.

The chief also said he will meet with  FOP president Kathy Harrell next week and wants an excellent relationship with the union.

And next month, he will unveil the first list of bigger changes he wants to make.
For now, Blackwell is giving thumbs up to both Graeter's and Skyline Chili.

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