Sunday, May 05, 2002

Key dates, provisions in settlement with Cincinnati police

        Who is covered under the settlement? All African-Americans, or anyone perceived as such, who live, work or travel through Cincinnati and who are stopped, detained, or arrested by Cincinnati police and citizens of any race who have been or will be subjected to a use of force by Cincinnati police.

        Key deadlines in the settlement agreement:

        • May 11, 2002: The city, the Department of Justice and plaintiffs in a racial profiling lawsuit will issue a joint solicitation for bid proposals to hire a monitor. The monitor will oversee changes to the police department and progress by community groups to change community-police relations.

        • May 24, 2002: Objections to settlement due to be filed in U.S. District Court.

        • May 31, 2002: Response to any objections filed against the agreement.

        • June 6, 2002: U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott to hold hearing on fairness of settlement. This will be a public hearing where persons can speak to the settlement. Judge Dlott might or might not approve the settlement at this meeting. Anyone wishing to speak at this hearing must file a notice of intention to appear along with a statement indicating their positions by May 31.

        • June 10, 2002: Deadline for submissions of proposals for the monitor.

        • Aug. 9, 2002: The city's new Citizen Complaint Authority will replace the city's Office of Municipal Investigation and the Citizens Police Review Panel as the the only independent agency to investigate complaints against Cincinnati police.

        • Sept. 8, 2002: Select a monitor with law enforcement experience to review and report on the police department's compliance with the Justice Department agreement and to oversee the community efforts. If by this date the parties cannot agree on a monitor, one will be appointed by the court. The city will file a status report with the monitor.

        By July 10, the city and the police department will:

        • Create a cadre of specially trained officers available at all times to respond to incidents involving the mentally ill.

        • Adopt a foot-pursuit policy that will require officers to assess whether a pursuit is appropriate, including: The offense committed, whether the subject is armed, the location and the ability to apprehend at a later date.

        • Revise use-of-force policies.

        • Revise chemical spray policies.

        • Prepare a protocol for using a new risk management system for review and approval by the Department of Justice.

        • City will issue a request for proposal for the new risk management system. Within 210 days of that proposal, the police department will select the contractor to create the risk management system. Within 12 months of selecting the contractor, the city will be ready to test a version of the risk management system.

        • Develop a protocol for conducting audits to examine citizen complaints on a quarterly basis.

        • Ensure regular meetings with local prosecutors to identify issues in officer, shift or unit performance.

        • Maintain a written checklist on how the Police Communications Section operators respond in various situations.

        • Revise beanbag shotgun and foam round policies.

        • Create a special board to review all critical firearm discharges. The board will determine if uses of force were consistent with police policy, if the officer used proper tactics and if lesser-force alternatives were available.

        • Revise its disciplinary matrix to take into account officer violations of different rules rather than just repeated violations of the same rule. Increase penalties for use of excessive force, improper searches, discrimination or dishonesty.

        • Review use of force training and policies regularly to ensure compliance with existing laws. There will be annual training for all officers on use of force.

        • Develop a program to inform persons how to file a complaint against a police officer. Complaints can be investigated by the police department, the city's Office of Municipal Investigation and the new Citizens Complaint Authority.

        • Train all officers charged with accepting citizen complaints on how to handle them.

        • Complete a comprehensive canine training program. Within 180 days the department will require all in-house canine trainers to be certified canine instructors.

        • Enhance programs for all field training officers. FTO's will be review bi-annually with recertification dependent on performance.

        Other dates:

        • Provide training to all employees whose jobs are affected by the Department of Justice agreement, within 120 days that each mandate is put into effect.

        • Conduct semi-annual integrity audits and issue a report on investigations conducted by Internal Investigations Section.

        • Conduct periodic random reviews of mobile camera videotapes for training and integrity purposes. Mobile cameras will be mandatory on all vehicle stops and pursuits.

        Community deadlines:

        • Within 30 days of the court's approval, a community advisory group called Friends of the Collaborative will be established.

        • Within 60 days of court's approval, conduct community problem-oriented policing for community groups and implement training within 90 days.

        • Within 90 days of the court's approval, will develop an evaluation system to track goals of the agreement. It shall be implemented 60 days later. The protocol will include periodic surveys, observation programs involving police and annual statistical reports of police and community interaction.

        • Publish an annual report answering about 35 questions on police-community relations and distribute it throughout the community.

        Develop by Aug. 4 and implement by Sept. 9:         • A plan to coordinate city departments on community problem-oriented policing.

        • A system for researching and creating a comprehensive library of best practices in community problem-oriented policing.

        • A continous learning process with police officers, where experiences in the field will be document, distributed throughout the department and be available to the public.

        • Seek information on successful and unsuccessful methods for tackling community problems.

        • Establish an ongoing community dialogue and interaction between police officers, youths, property owners, business owners, tenants, motorists, churches and other city residents on the new problem-oriented policing.

        • Revise police policies and procedures, organizational plans, job descriptions and standards to reflect community problem-oriented policing.

        Aug. 4, 2002:

        • Develop a system for consistently informing the public about police policies and procedures. Implement it by Oct. 3, 2002.

        • The police department will create and staff a community relations office that will coordinate the implementation of this agreement.

        Sept. 9, 2002:

        • Police district commanders and special unit commanders shall prepare quarterly reports that detail problem solving activities within their districts.

        • The city, police department and plaintiffs in the lawsuit will review and recommend training courses for the police training academy in order to inform recruits about the urban environment in which they are working. Implement by Oct. 3, 2002.

        Oct. 3, 2002: Establish a community problem-oriented policing award to recognize efforts by citizens and police officers and implement it by Dec. 3, 2002.

        Dec. 3, 2002:

        • Implement a problem tracking system for documenting problem-solving activities. Implement by Feb. 1, 2003.

        • Design a system to track repeat offenders, repeat victims and repeat locations for community problem-oriented policing.

        • Review ways to pay for the technology needed to monitor and evaluate problems. Secure funding by Feb. 1, 2003. Procure the technology by June 6, 2003.

        June 6, 2003: Make an annual report about the new policing process.

        Extra: Anyone who feels that an officer unnecessarily pointed a firearm at them on or since March 31, 2000, may file a complaint with any of the plaintiff organizations ( the Black United Front or the American Civil Liberties Union). The complaint will be immediately investigated by a select team of Cincinnati police officers selected by the chief. After six months, all of those complaints will be turned over to the monitor.

        The monitor will forward the data to a federal judge who will review it. if the judge determines there is a pattern of officers improperly pointing weapons at people, then the city will require officers to report all instances where they point a firearm at or in the direction of a citizen.

        Agreement expires: Five years after the court approves it.


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