Cincy police add 25 officers to street patrol

Posted at 7:08 PM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 19:08:41-04

CINCINNATI -- As turmoil roils at the top of the department, more than two-dozen police officers hit the streets Monday to boost patrol strength.

The move was ordered in late August by then police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.

The ordered was executed Monday by interim Chief Elliot Isaac after Blackwell’s ouster. The department is putting 25 officers into the patrol division.

RELATED: Report on fired Chief Blackwell cites abuse, retaliation claims
MORE: Blackwell would be $150K richer if he resigned

“We think this will give us that initial push to address those holes that have occurred through some natural attrition and some other transfers.  We've deployed 10 officers to District 2 -- 10 officers to District 4 and five officers back to District 1,” Isaac said.

Earlier, officials said the force had 620 officers assigned to district patrols.

Isaac added later in an interview with WCPO, “I think it's going to be an immediate impact. Those were two of the three districts that had the most demonstrated need off additional officers. We're going to evaluate that for 30 days and see if there's more that needs to be done.”

District Two includes the communities of: Evanston, East Walnut Hills, O’Bryonville, Hyrde Park, Mt. Lookout, Oakley, Madisonville, Kennedy Heights, Pleasant Ridge, East End, Columbia Tusculum, Linwood, Mt. Washington and California.

District Four includes: Mt. Auburn, Corryville, Walnut Hills, Avondale, Paddock Hills, Bond Hill, Roselawn, Carthage and Hartwell.

Isaac said it’s a way of improving officer morale because low patrol strength is a consistent complaint.

“Our commitment to community engagement as well as an aggressive approach to violent crime,” Isaac said.

The chief also told the Law and Public Safety Committee that he's going to work on improving internal communications, as well as getting officers upgraded equipment and body cameras.

The interim chief said the department is committed to “transparency, community engagement again, problem solving is a key area that we know we need to bolster.”

Isaac assured the council that the department is determined to move forward.

He also reaffirmed the department’s commitment to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence.

“We will re-energize that and look for ways to enhance our efforts there.  We believe that it's a proven strategy.  We just needs to make sure that it's applicable to 2015,” Isaac said.

Isaac is also due to speak at the Cincinnati branch of the Fraternal Order of Police at 6:30 p.m. Monday. He will be joined by interim Executive Assistant Chief David Bailey and interim Assistant Chief Doug Wiesman.

One thing that will not happen at the meeting is a vote of confidence taken. Union leader Kathy Harrell said they can’t hold the vote because members may be applying for the chief of police position.

Harrell also said the union is already dealing with the issues that lead to a threat of a “no confidence” vote in Blackwell.

“They knew what the concerns were.  They knew why morale was low, but they weren't in positions to change it -- because we have a chief that was not addressing it and not willing to address it,” Harrell said.

The union president said the rank-and-file of the department have said they’re happy their concerns were listened to.