Morning News: FOP questions body camera policies; Portman pulls ahead in Senate race; Hamilton County GOP endorses Trump

FOP questions body camera policies; Portman pulls ahead in Senate race; Hamilton County GOP endorses Trump

click to enlarge U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (left) and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (right) - Gage Skidmore (left) / Dana Beveridge (right)
Gage Skidmore (left) / Dana Beveridge (right)
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (left) and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (right)

Good morning all. Let’s get into this news mess, shall we?

As we told you yesterday, the city has just unveiled its new body camera program for Cincinnati police officers. The move comes after officer-involved shootings across the country have been caught on video, including the local shooting death of unarmed black motorist Samuel DuBose, caught by a camera worn by the shooter and former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing. However, there are concerns from Cincinnati’s Fraternal Order of Police about the cameras. The FOP says the city didn’t negotiate with it about the policies and procedures behind the cameras, which you can read here, and that the union’s lawyer is considering whether any action should be taken. Stay tuned on that.

• Meanwhile, a few facts from yesterday’s presser about the cameras: The city bought 700 of them, and they’re costing taxpayers about $680,000 this year and almost $6 million total. Footage will be stored by Taser, which makes the cameras, for 90 days, then deleted unless it is flagged. Officers will be required to boot up the cameras prior to starting their shifts, but won’t be required to inform citizens that they are being filmed, per Ohio law. Officers on patrol in the central business district will be the first to get the cameras, followed by roll-outs in the rest of the city over the next few months.

• The Uptown Consortium, a collective of the largest employers in Clifton, CUF, Avondale and Corryville, has purchased more swaths of land near the coming I-71/Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. interchange. Uptown Consortium, Inc. just bought up properties owned by the Corinthian Baptist Church for $2.5 million. Though the group says it has no immediate plans in the works for the properties, they likely fit in to an eventual goal of turning the area around Reading Road, I-71 and MLK into an “innovation corridor” that plays off the University of Cincinnati and surrounding hospitals. The highway project and innovation corridor plan have caused some concern and also hopes for revitalization in Avondale, Corryville and Walnut Hills, the low-income neighborhoods surrounding the interchange.

• Quick but big business story here: As its sales fall, Cincinnati-based Macy’s announced today that it will close 100 of its 880 stores throughout the country by early next year. The company’s total sales last quarter fell 4 percent, and investors have been pushing Macy’s to slim down the number of stores it operates.

• As the Donald Trump campaign hustles to put together a credible operation in Southwestern Ohio — where the GOP presidential nominee has yet to open up official offices or hire local campaign leaders — the golden-haired guru of grassroots discontent has garnered at least some help bolstering his efforts here. The Hamilton County GOP executive committee voted unanimously yesterday to officially endorse Trump. That endorsement has come even as Trump trails Clinton by as much as 10 points in national polls and some high-profile Republican leaders, including elected officials and party elder statesmen, have either continued to denounce the Donald or have pulled earlier endorsements. So, are Hamilton County Republicans parachuting onto the deck of the Titanic? No way, county GOP Chair Alex Triantafilou says.

I am extremely pleased with the decision of the executive committee. This vote is a rubber stamp on what we have already known to be true; that Hamilton County Republicans are united behind Donald Trump for president of the United States,” Triantafilou said in a statement.

• Let’s go statewide, shall we? New polls show the Ohio U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Rob Portman and his Democrat challenger former Gov. Ted Strickland is finally moving. After being deadlocked for months, a poll just released by Quinnipiac University shows that Portman has pulled a big nine points ahead of Strickland, 49 percent to 40 percent. Strickland’s campaign is just kicking into high gear — the Democrat has started running his first TV ad in response to Portman ads, and he’s been campaigning more around the state. But Portman is hitting Strickland for a gaffe he made in a speech to union representatives where he said that late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death came “at a good time” due to some pending cases involving unions. Portman is also crisscrossing the state, with a planned 50-stop campaign tour rolling through even some of Ohio’s bluest stretches.

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