Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac sees improvement, room for more after 1 year on the job

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 07:18:13-05

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati's police chief has officially been on the job one year, and while crime is down and officer morale is up, Eliot Isaac says there is still work to be done.

When Isaac took the oath at the Freedom Center a year ago, he promised transparency, responsiveness and collaboration. Wednesday, he said he believes the department is on the right track now.

The chief added he is especially proud of one thing he's accomplished since taking over from Jeffrey Blackwell as the city's top cop: relationships, both internally and externally.

"A year ago, there was a lot of turmoil in the department," Isaac said. "People weren't feeling well and there was a lot of different tension. I think we've come together and we've got good relations in the community and we're continuing to build upon that."

Police union President Sgt. Dan Hils said he and Isaac don't agree on everything, but he still "couldn't be happier with the chief."

"We know that you're dealing with somebody that has a fair mindset, thinks through things, doesn't react, doesn't seem to be doing things because of ego or because of a sense of entitlement or anything like that," Hils said. "He's a thoughtful person and we get along well."

Body cameras and new police cars have been brought online under Isaac's watch, with new in-car computers to come next year. Also, the ShotSpotter audio gunfire detection and location system should be in place in 2017.

"We've invested in some technology," Isaac said. "We're continuing to invest in that...We hope to really do some special things there."

With the improved relationships and new technology, Isaac hopes to grow the department's efforts against violent crime.

"We've had some positive results, but we're going to continue to do that," he said.

In the first five months of the year, most types of violent crime and property crime were down. And while police have faced problems like a rash of hundreds of overdoses, Isaac rated the department a B+. He said there's still room to grow the department's "community partners."

"I think we've done some positive things here, and we're focused and we're continuing to try to do what we can to do it collaboratively," Isaac said. "We've had a lot of great work by our partners across the city. I just can't stress that enough. It's not just the Cincinnati police. The support and effort that the community provides is critical."

Local community leaders were positive about Isaac's leadership in the department.

"I love the way he hasn't rushed in and made wholesale changes across the board -- 'We're going to fix this and fix that,'" Pastor Peterson Mingo said. "No, he took a closer look at that from his new position and decided there were some things that didn't need attention as others did."

Going forward, Isaac committed to the same promises he made when he began as chief.

"We're going to continue to be transparent. We're going to continue to be responsive," he said. "We're going to continue to be collaborative."