Use of Force

The prospect of having the law come down hard is sometimes sufficient to get wrongdoers to change their behavior, and that applies to police and other city officials as well as criminals. Having an

The prospect of having the law come down hard is sometimes sufficient to get wrongdoers to change their behavior, and that applies to police and other city officials as well as criminals.

Having angered a federal judge by insulting court-appointed monitors, leading earlier this year to the imposition of more stringent court oversight, the officers in charge of the Cincinnati Police Department are now showing notable cooperation with reform efforts. Saul Green, the monitor in charge of implementation of the collaborative agreement (CA) on police reform and the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Justice Department, last week released his 11th quarterly report. Cincinnati Police have changed their tone, according to Green.

"There remain important issues to be addressed by the parties, but we want to focus attention at this moment on the excellent work by the parties this past quarter," the report says. "As noted above, much progress has been accomplished on implementation of both the MOA and the CA. We commend the parties on more than just the policies and procedures adopted, the personnel trained and the increased quality of reporting. Just as important as the increased productivity and quality of work completed is the fact it could not have been accomplished without collaborative, productive relationships being at work between the parties. We look forward to this work continuing."

The 141-page report details progress in several areas:

· The CPD Police Academy, in partnership with mental health professionals, trained an additional 29 officers in June and 30 officers in September in responding to incidents involving persons who are mentally ill.

· The monitor found that Taser deployments and other use of force incidents reviewed this quarter were in compliance with the MOA.

The monitor also found the CPD to be in compliance with the MOA provisions for chemical spray and canine deployment.

· This quarter, the monitor team reviewed a sample of 67 investigative files involving use of force. The CPD is in compliance with the investigative requirements of the MOA, including having supervisors respond to the scene to investigate, evaluate and document each incident; ensuring that all officers who witness a use of force provide a statement; and having the investigating supervisor complete a Use of Force Report that is reviewed by a lieutenant or higher.

The process of reforming the police department is, however, ongoing. The quarterly report notes areas where work is underway and full compliance is anticipated.

For example, a number of complaints received by the Citizens Complaint Authority (CCA) were referred to the CPD's Internal Investigations Section (IIS), but IIS didn't investigate them. In August the CCA and the CPD developed procedures for ensuring that all complaints are appropriately acted upon by both agencies.

"The monitor believes that this protocol should bring the city into compliance in the next quarter," the report says.

So, too, with a tracking system for cops who are often the subject of citizen complaints.

Since October 2004 the CPD's risk management system, the Employee Tracking Solution (ETS), has been online, and officers and supervisors are entering records such as use of force reports and citizen complaints. However, the vendor had difficulty converting data from the CPD's old databases so that they can be imported into the ETS. It also was unable to implement the analysis and risk assessment components of the system. Without these capabilities, the CPD has not yet begun identifying officers, supervisors and units for administrative review and appropriate intervention based on potential at-risk behavior.

"The system's difficulties appear to have been corrected in September," the report says. "The monitor is hopeful that the CPD will be able to use the system in the next quarter to come into compliance with the MOA provisions."

To read the complete report, visit cincinnatimonitor.

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