UCPD chief resigns amid department review

Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 23:55:11-05

CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati’s top cop stepped down from his post Friday, officials said, amid an external review of his department.

As part of a top-down review process launched Feb. 1, now-former UC Police Chief Jason Goodrich and now-former Maj. Tim Thornton submitted their resignations, according to UC Vice President of Safety and Reform Robin Engel and Vice President of Administration and Finance Robert Ambach.

Both resignations went into effect immediately.

In an emailed statement, Engel and Ambach said the two officers were “looking toward the future of the department” when they decided to resign. The decision came following interviews with internal personnel and talks with key department and university leaders regarding UCPD’s mission.

Engel and Ambach thanked both Goodrich and Thornton for their service as part of that statement.

UC Director of Public Safety and former Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. James Whalen will serve as interim UCPD chief. Whalen said in an interview that the review has shown some "gaps in management and oversight."

"I expected from the top-to-bottom review, and I've announced this to the agency, that there are going to be uncomfortable moments," Whalen told WCPO. "There are going to be times when we are going to have to reflect and be very humble and accept the recommendations and move on, and so we are prepared to do that."

UC Student Body President Andrew Naab said he was surprised by the announcement.

"It was always stated that, if that recommendation had to be made, that Exiger, our team that was selected (to perform the external review), would provide that review and would provide that recommendation once the review is complete," Naab told WCPO.

The still-ongoing comprehensive review of the department came seven months after ex-UC police officer Ray Tensing shot and killed motorist Sam DuBose during an off-campus traffic stop in Mt. Auburn.

The review is the latest in a series of reforms after the fatal traffic stop shooting.

Specifically, the university wants Exigir to focus on:

  • UCPD policies and procedures;
  • the department's data collection, data usage, automation and records management;
  • department training;
  • accountability;
  • recruiting, hiring, promotion and retention efforts; and
  • department equipment and technology.

UC expects to have an interim report from the Exiger team by April, and a final report by June 1.

WCPO will update this story as it develops.