What did Mayor Mark Mallory know and when did he know it? Details about a confidential study done last year on officers' attitudes and deployment issues in the Cincinnati Police Department — including who received the study's findings and when — are proving curiouser and curiouser. City staffers finally released copies of a PowerPoint slide presentation outlining the study's findings June 21, one day after city council members got a copy and more than six months after the study was completed in December 2005 (see Porkopolis, issue of June 28).
The release followed a May 9 public records request by CityBeat for any documents related to the study in the city's possession. We were told at the time that no city staffer or elected official had anything. But many of the study's recommendations were included almost verbatim in Mallory's plan for fighting crime, announced in a much-publicized press conference he held Jan. 19 (see "Truants and Traffickers," issue of Jan. 25). None of the anti-crime initiatives Mallory proposed during his campaign last summer, however, was included.
Various city staffers say several people received oral presentations on the study's findings and recommendations since it was completed Dec. 12, including Interim City Manager David Rager, Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr., police supervisors and some council members.
The study was paid for using private money from the Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC) and other business interests, preventing it from being classified as a public record until someone at City Hall took possession of a copy. The CBC, which outlined the findings, didn't leave copies of the slides with city officials at the time, council members say.
Renowned police expert John Linder did the study. A council majority is using its findings to push for adding 100 new police officers in the next few years at a cost of up to $8 million annually. But it remains unclear if council has even seen the full report. Only PowerPoint printouts and results from a police survey were publicly released, and city staffers and the CBC each continually refer questions to the other about whether more study documents exist.
"Whatever City Hall has is all I know of," says CBC Executive Director Laura Long. "We were just a conduit to get it funded."
A Hamilton County grand jury last week indicted Cleves Police Chief Mark Demeropolis on three counts of tampering with records, two counts of forgery and one count of tampering with evidence (see "Police Chief Suspended," issue of July 12). A probe by the Ohio Organized Crime Investigation Commission concluded that Demeropolis licensed two personal vehicles at the office using fraudulent EPA codes. Demeropolis, a former BMV employee, knew how to manipulate and abuse the E-Check system, according to prosecutors.
In a separate incident in May, Demeropolis allegedly instructed a police officer to shred information concerning a drunken driving arrest. He then had the officer charge the suspect with reckless operation instead of driving under the influence.
Demeropolis, who is on unpaid administrative leave, faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Pool Is Closed but Our Blog Is Open
English Woods has a large city-owned pool, but the city hasn't opened it this summer. That's because it's no longer needed, according to an e-mail from Christopher Bigham, superintendent of business operations for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, to community activist Brian Garry.
"The reason for closing the pool was due primarily to the English Woods housing being permanently closed," Bigham wrote. "This is the first year we did not operate the pool and have set up transportation for the remaining youth and teens in the English Woods housing to attend nearby pools."
But that explanation doesn't make sense, Garry says. English Woods still has 173 kids and more than 500 adults living there, he says. Furthermore, kids from Fay Apartments, another nearby public housing project, also used the English Woods Pool.
"We say that we value children, yet when it comes to budgeting they are not worth opening a pool for," Garry says. "This sends them a message that they are unimportant."
Garry last week joined the Rev. Walter Jones, president of the English Woods Civic Association/Resident Community Council, to demand the city open the pool.
If you missed CityBeat's Porkopolis blog earlier this week, you missed reports on Demeropolis' indictment and on unsuccessful efforts to limit CityBeat's interview with a prisoner on Death Row. Don't wait for the daily newspapers. Visit citybeatporkopolis.blogspot.com and get today's news today.
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