The union representing Cincinnati’s 1,100 police officers today announced its endorsements for Cincinnati City Council and Hamilton County Municipal Court judgeships.
Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge Number 69 tapped nine Council candidates and seven judge candidates. Incumbent Democrats Vice Mayor David Mann and Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, as well as Republican incumbent Amy Murray and independent incumbent Christopher Smitherman, all got the nod. Republican candidates Seth Maney and Jeff Pastor also got endorsements, as did Democratic candidates Greg Landsman and Ozie Davis and independent Tamie Sullivan.
The FOP interviewed roughly 30 Council candidates earlier this week before settling on their endorsements, officials say. FOP president Dan Hils says a committee of current and retired police officers made the picks.
“The FOP endorsement represents a two-fold endorsement in our opinion," former FOP Keith Fangman said at a news conference today announcing the choices. "It sends a very clear message to voters that these are the candidates that our officers respect and trust to do the right thing. It also sends a message to voters that these are the candidates that support good law enforcement and good policing, collaborative policing.”
The FOP didn’t endorse either of the former police officers running for council. Incumbent Democrat Wendell Young was a long-time CPD officer before his political career, and first-time Democrat candidate Derek Bauman served more than two decades as a police officer, most recently in Mason.
The candidates made brief statements at that news conference praising Cincinnati’s police officers. Vice Mayor Mann commented on the loss of CPD officer Sunny Kim, who was shot and killed on duty last year.
“I’m very excited as a first-time candidate that the blue supports me like I support the blue,” said Davis, a longtime community activist in Avondale. “There’s no candidate who has worked with the police in the community more than me. So I’ve gotten complaints with the police, but we’ve also got police that we like. It’s a working, day-by-day partnership. That’s what really excites me. Our police are interested in working together.”
Hils reiterated the FOP’s endorsement for Mayor John Cranley and said their support for the mayor played into their council endorsement selections.
“When we looked at City Council candidates, one of the things we were concerned about is whether they would work well with the person we want for mayor, and that’s our man Mayor John Cranley,” Hils said.
The FOP endorsed seven municipal court judge candidates, including Alan Triggs, who ran for Hamilton County prosecutor last year and is running in district two; William Mallory, who’s running in district three; Curt Kissinger, running in district four; Brad Greenberg in district five; Bernie Bouchard in district six; and Gwen Bender and Jackie Ginocchio running for seats in district seven. The FOP made no endorsements for judge in district one.
“We pride ourselves on picking for endorsement the best possible candidate regardless of their political affiliation,” Fangman said. “We always have a very diverse group of Democrats, Republicans, Charterites and independents, and a representation of a diverse cross-section of this community.”
The endorsements come after tension earlier this summer between the city, police reform activists and the police union over statements made during the trial of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing. The FOP voted earlier this summer to sit out of a refresh of the city's historic 2002 Collaborative Agreement police reforms, though Hils says he's hopeful the union can find its way back to the table for further discussion about those efforts.