City Manager Harry Black on Nov. 13 announced his recommendation of Interim Police Chief Eliot Isaac to be Cincinnati’s next police chief.
In the press conference at City Hall, Black said Isaac will move on to the next step of the vetting process, a series of private panels with individuals from the community, police department, clergy and business community that will begin this week.
Isaac also appeared before the City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee Nov. 16.
The city has been searching for a new police chief since former chief Jeffrey Blackwell was fired in September. One of the main reasons Black cited for that controversial firing was a lack of morale in the department under Blackwell’s leadership — a condition he says Isaac can remedy.
“He understands public safety,” Black said of Isaac, highlighting support for the new chief within the department. “He understands how to improve morale within the department. He’s already made tremendous progress in this area.”
Black initially said he would conduct a nationwide search for the city’s next police chief, but at the Nov. 13 press conference said he had instead found strong leadership within the department. Isaac is currently the sole candidate for the position.
Some activists and city leaders have taken issue with that, saying Black has rushed the selection process. They’ve called for a continued national search that yields multiple candidates.At the Law and Public Safety Committee, council members Christopher Smitherman, Yvette Simpson, Kevin Flynn and Charlie Winburn said they support Isaac. He’s also received support from Hamilton County prosecutors and the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police.
Isaac is a 27-year veteran of the department who began as a police officer in 1988. He was sworn in as assistant police chief last July and took over as interim police chief following Blackwell’s firing.
“Moving forward, it is imperative that the Cincinnati Police Department remain a progressive agency,” Isaac said at the press conference. “If given this opportunity, we will be focusing on providing the citizens of Cincinnati a healthy, unified police department that is responsive to citizens.”