Police Study: Morale Sucks

One day after Cincinnati officials cited the study as the basis for hiring up to 100 police officers, a secret report on police deployment issues was publicly released June 20 -- or at least porti

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City Councilman John Cranley wants the city to hire 100 more police officers.

One day after Cincinnati officials cited the study as the basis for hiring up to 100 police officers, a secret report on police deployment issues was publicly released June 20 — or at least portions of it were. City Councilman John Cranley distributed the study, which was conducted last year by nationally renowned police expert John Linder for the Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC). Then-Mayor Charlie Luken asked that the $100,000-plus study be done in June 2005, but it was paid for using private money from the CBC and other business interests.

The funding tactic allowed the study not to be classified as a public record under Ohio's open records law until someone at City Hall took possession of a copy. Although the study was completed last December and verbal presentations were given to Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr., some city council members and others, city officials had said they were never given a hard copy until recently.

Still, it remains unclear whether the CBC has portions of the study in its possession that haven't been turned over to city council. The copies distributed by Cranley are merely print-outs of PowerPoint presentations that were given to police, along with responses to surveys completed by officers. It doesn't include a narrative-style report that typically results from such studies.

Portions of the study that were released, however, make it clear that the police department has low morale and isn't fully engaged in fighting crime. The study states that the department is "overwhelmed and defensive," with an operating culture described as having a "systematically defensive posture (that is) hamstringing operations and affecting all basic systems."

Under the heading "bottom line," the report states there's a "widespread reluctance today to engage in pro-active crime fighting because officers feel not supported by city government, citizens, media and bosses."

As part of the study, Linder interviewed 63 officers in seven focus groups. Additionally, 1,029 surveys were distributed to officers, with 635 completed. Tellingly, the study's results show that 81.8 percent of respondents don't believe Cincinnati will be a safer place two years from now and 71.7 percent don't believe Cincinnati will be a safer place five years from now.

Among the study's findings, the Cincinnati Police Department has fewer officers per capita than other cities with high murder rates like Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia. The department, which now has 1,028 sworn officers, would need 355 more officers to achieve optimum effectiveness and efficiency.

With improved technology, however, the department needs just 194 more officers to achieve the goal, the study states. The technology includes computer software that allows more sophisticated crime mapping and analysis.

Cranley, who chairs council's finance committee, is pushing to hire 100 more police officers, which could cost up to $8 million annually beginning in late 2008. A council majority supports the effort. Besides the hiring proposal, city council members haven't yet publicly discussed the study's other findings.

Courageous Youth and Creative Liberals
The Point Foundation in San Francisco has named University of Cincinnati graduate Derek Mize a 2006 Point Scholar. The scholarships go to meritorious students who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a first-generation college student and the only child of a single mother, Mize worked two jobs while earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in women's studies at UC. He will enter UC's law school in the fall.

Mize was a varsity swimmer at UC. After he came out, he endured marginalization and harassment and eventually chose to leave the team in 2000 (see "20 Years and Out," issue of June 7-13).

The Point Foundation this year awarded scholarships to 30 lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender students.

It's not too late to support equal rights, peace, the environment and other progressive causes by marching in Northside's annual Independence Day Parade. The parade is among the most entertaining in the city, with creative political floats joining the Ladies Lawn Chair Brigade and other marching wonders. The parade begins at noon Tuesday. Parade applications can be found at www.northside.net.

Blogworthy of Note
If you missed CityBeat's Porkopolis blog earlier this week, you missed the first report on the secret police study and an early review of last weekend's Desdemona Festival. Why wait for the daily newspapers? Visit citybeatporkopolis.blogspot.com and get today's news today.

Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or pork(at)citybeat.com

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