It seems like a lot of things in Cincinnati are crumbling. Chunks of concrete are falling off the Western Hills Viaduct, the walkway across Central Avenue to Music Hall is in danger of collapsing and will be demolished and replaced, and the city is spending millions more to shore up the retaining wall on Riverside Drive as the hill slips closer to the river.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing that seems to be falling apart is a semblance of trust between the Cincinnati Police Department and city and county officials, the CPD and segments of the community and between factions within the CPD itself.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 69 has been critical of the Hamilton County Prosecutor's office since the questioning of CPD officer Shannon Heine during the Ray Tensing trial. FOP president Sgt. Dan Hills blasted local elected leaders for failing to protect officers against dangerous substances such as fentanyl. Hills also posted a controversial message on Facebook that was seeming critical of Black Lives Matter, which prompted threats in response.
Complicating matters is the recent stance by the FOP, which voted to not participate in a "refresh" of the Collaborative Agreement created in the wake of the 2001 shooting of Timothy Thomas and the subsequent unrest. The vote was heavily criticized by the Sentinel Police Association, which is composed primarily of African-American police officers. FOP president Hills has said a revote may take place.
There are real issues facing Cincinnati: The opioid crisis. Racial tensions. Police-community relations. These issues cannot be addressed if these tensions between police, our government and members in our community continue.
We can't let the progress and the trust that has been building since the creation of the Collaborative Agreement fall apart.
Kevin Necessary is the editorial cartoonist for WCPO. His opinion is not that of WCPO.