One local blog has heard rumors that Dr. Brad Wenstrup, the GOP mayoral candidate, is backing away from remarks he made about the Cincinnati Police Department while on the campaign trail. Instead, Wenstrup or his surrogates are allegedly blaming the blog for inaccurate reporting.—-
In case the rumors are true, The Cincinnati Beacon — which first reported the remarks — is posting a video clip from a spring meeting of the NAACP’s Cincinnati chapter, where Wenstrup made the comments as proof the report was accurate. The 33-second clip shows the candidate discussing the concept of having an undercover person monitor the department’s quality and performance, similar to a "secret shopper.".
Wenstrup, a podiatrist and Iraq War veteran from Columbia Tusculum, made similar remarks to CityBeat during an interview conducted in early June at Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine.
In the interest of setting the record straight, here is what Wenstrup said to CityBeat. An abbreviated version appeared in a June 17 cover story on the candidate.
“There’s always opportunity in any city to try to improve police-community relations, and a lot of that is based on trust,” Wenstrup said. “We sometimes within our medical practice will make a phone call and schedule an appointment to see how that goes. Is it a smooth process, is it the way we want it to be? How can we improve ourselves?”
New York had a similar program involving police, where people on the street would engage with cops and evaluate their performance, he added.
“It’s human nature, in the back of your mind if you think you’re being evaluated perhaps, that you might do your job a little bit better,” Wenstrup said. “But I also think that it can provide some statistical positives for the police force, where they can point to the evaluations if they do good. It can be a win-win to have some type of internal monitoring and that doesn’t take place based only on complaints.”
Asked about his view on the current state of police-community relations in the Queen City, he replied, ““It varies from community to community, that’s what I’m gathering as I go around from one community to another. That leads to an interesting perspective. What might be one community’s solution to a problem, another community doesn’t even have that on their radar screen or they might feel that solution is going to be deleterious to them.
“The transition to me, as a mayor, would be we all live in our neighborhoods and unless you really get out and go around, like I’ve been trying to do, you don’t see that,” Wenstrup added. “If the mayor is a leader, we’ve got to take into consideration each and every one of those entities and find solutions that are fair to everyone. It must be fair to all involved. That’s a hard job, and that takes leadership.
“That takes listening and keeping your door open to all of the communities. I get sense from some of the neighborhood groups I’ve spoken to that they don’t feel heard (at City Hall). That’s half the battle – are you even listening?”
“In a leadership role in Iraq and in my business, what I’ve learned is if you don’t listen you’re going to strike out. You’re going to fail miserably. The people you work with have got to know you’re engaged and you’re listening.”