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City Council takes first steps in addressing Cincinnati police policy reform

“We work really hard to be the type of police department that people want.”
Chief Eliot Isaac at Law and Public Safety meeting
Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 14:48:05-04

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City council took the first steps towards potential police reforms that many in the city have been calling for in the wake of George Floyd’s death and nationwide protests.

Members of the Law and Public Safety Committee passed a number of motions Tuesday, including one that calls for preventing the use of a Taser on a child and another that aims to create a new online database that lists officer misconduct records.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said he his department is on the same page with the vast majority of issues the committee brought up. He said one of the motions passed, which imposes a ban on hiring any officer who was fired from another department for serious misconduct, was already a priority.

“That’s one of the things I look for first, if they have any prior law enforcement experience,” Isaac said. “Who have they worked for, have we done a thorough background investigation on them? We certainly don’t want someone else’s bad apples.”

Also, the ban on using a Taser on a child is very similar to a policy enacted by Cincinnati police in 2019.

“We certainly don’t want to use any type of physical force on a young person, if we can avoid it,” said Isaac. “That is something that just should not happen.”

However, not everyone sees the reforms as a step forward, but rather a political ploy.

“I mostly see political grandstanding,” said Fraternal Order of Police president Daniel Hils.

He said the motions passed don’t address any real issues that CPD is dealing with.

“I see a whole lot of politicians doing everything they can to get their name out there and say they are trying to fix a problem,” Hils said. “A problem that does not exist here in the city of Cincinnati.”

Isaac said his department is working towards a higher goal.

“We work really hard to be the type of police department that people want,” he said.

Also during the committee meeting, council members discussed and reaffirmed the city’s Collaborative Agreement, an agreement that has been in effect for 18 years in Cincinnati.

The agreement was the result of a Department of Justice investigation that followed the 2001 shooting of Timothy Thomas by Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach in an alley in Over-the-Rhine.

The Collaborative Agreement was historic in recognizing community members as partners in fighting crime, rather than as people who should be viewed as potential criminals.

The motions passed Tuesday will still need a full council vote, which could come as early as Wednesday.