UCPD review: Increase diversity, consider bringing back Tasers

CINCINNATI -- A 150-page, top-to-bottom review of the University of Cincinnati Police Department was released Tuesday afternoon during a news conference headed by director of reform and safety Robin Engle.

The report is the end product of a months-long top-to-bottom investigation of UC policing practices conducted by the national police monitoring firm Exiger.

"This is not just another report. This is a report that's a roadmap" Engel said.

WATCH the full news conference below:

 

The report recommended that UCPD make significant policy changes, including the establishment of more diverse hiring practices and a single Use of Force policy, to prevent more incidents like the 2015 officer-involved shooting of Samuel DuBose.

DuBose was shot and killed July 19 by UC officer Ray Tensing, who had followed him more than a mile off-campus and stopped him for not having a front license plate on his vehicle. The incident quickly gained traction in national news because of its resemblance to other recent officer-involved shootings in which the victim was an unarmed black man.

Tensing has since been fired and charged with murder. Tensing was charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter, dismissed from his job and has pleaded not guilty. An examination of his policing record revealed that he stopped African-American motorists like DuBose up to four times as often as white motorists.

"We know, without a doubt, (UCPD) needs to be more reflective of the community it serves," Engel said.

Exiger’s report includes a number of key recommendations for better, less biased policing practices at the university, including:

  • Adopt a mission statement to serve as a foundation for ongoing reform efforts.
  • Establish internal audit service to audit the department and develop an annual audit plan.
  • UCPD should fully implement a policy on biased policing, develop curriculum on the biased policing policy, institute training on the policy and include implicit bias in training.
  • Update hiring policies to attract a diverse pool of candidates throughout the recruitment process.
  • Consider outfitting UCPD officers with Taser guns.

According to the university, some of these recommendations are already being implemented as part of its ongoing reform process.

Since DuBose’s death, UCPD has developed an early warning system to monitor officers’ use of force and begun to track the gender and race of individuals who come into contact with the department during policing instances.

The 12-member Exiger team met with students, faculty, staff, administrators, UCPD officers, Cincinnati police officers and residents, according to UCPD spokeswoman Michele Ralston. They also compared UCPD's standards against other campus law enforcement agencies, as well as city police departments.

The team includes:

  • Jeff Schlanger, managing director and president of Exiger's Advisory Group and former deputy primary monitor for the Los Angeles Police Department consent decree
  • Charles Ramsey, former commissioner of Philadelphia Police Department and co-chair of President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
  • John Thomas, chief, University of Southern California Office of Public Safety
  • Beth Corriea, attorney and risk management consultant to police departments including LAPD
  • Sandy Jo MacArthur, 35-year veteran of LAPD, oversaw consent decree requirements
  • Mark Porter, 30 years of experience in higher education law enforcement management, executive director of Public Safety and police chief for Brown University
  • Nola M. Joyce, 25 years of public sector experience, current deputy commissioner for Philadelphia PD
  • Maggie Goodrich, chief information officer for LAPD, manages IT Bureau operations
  • Roberto A Villasenor, chief of police, Tucson Police Department
  • Patrick Harnett, spent 32 years with New York Police Department
  • James McShane, 24-year veteran of NYPD, vice president of Public Safety for Columbia University
  • Joan Brody, project manager with experience in federal investigations and consent decrees
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