FOP votes to back Collaborative Agreement, police union president says

Posted at 8:11 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 20:35:03-04

CINCINNATI -- The police union voted to back the city's update on the landmark agreement on police-community relations Monday night.

Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge 69 voted to support the refresh of the Collaborative Agreement, according to Sgt. Dan Hils, the union president. 

Earlier this summer, the union voted to stop participating in the process to update the agreement because of "attacks" on a sergeant who testified in the Ray Tensing retrial. Complaints civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein made about Sgt. Shannon Heine's testimony in the final retrial led to an internal investigation. That investigation found no wrongdoing.

Gerhardstein worked on the original Collaborative Agreement and is part of the group working on the "refresh." The union was "extremely disappointed with the attacks" Gerhardstein and activist Iris Roley made on Heine, Hils said at the time.

"I want to work with members of the community in a collaborative fashion," Hils said in July, "but you can't expect me to sit with somebody that's essentially punching me in the nose."

However, Hils told 700WLW's Bill Cunningham "maybe 10 percent" of union membership was present for the vote to not participate.

Gerhardstein said at the time he was hopeful he'd work things out with the union.

"If we're going to reach out and do something different, the FOP should be at our side and say, 'We want to do it this way,' because their voice has been critical for 15 years," he said in July. "There's no reason to take it away."

The court-mediated Collaborative Agreement was signed in 2002 after a fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer sparked riots in 2001. The original agreement lasted until 2008. Many of the reforms remain in place, but city officials said leadership changes and budget challenges have affected some of the priorities.

Officials began the process to "refresh" the agreement in order to identify any issues and improve on successes, they previously said.