Friday, October 11, 2002

Judge names police monitor

She acts because 4 parties to settlement couldn't agree

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] Dr. Alan Kalmanoff speaks at a press conference after he was introduced as the monitor for the planned overhaul of the Cincinnati Police Department.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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A Berkeley, Calif., lawyer who has overseen police reforms in 13 cities around the country will lead a team of 20 legal and law-enforcement experts to monitor a sweeping overhaul of Cincinnati's police department.

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott on Thursday surprised Cincinnati officials, the police union, a group of African-American activists and the Department of Justice when she named Dr. Alan Kalmanoff after months of negotiations to select one of 11 candidates.

She made the decision after becoming convinced the four parties in Cincinnati's landmark legal settlement would not come to a unanimous agreement, the judge said.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andrew Douglas will likely join the team when he retires from the bench at the end of the year.

"I don't know where they broke down," Judge Dlott said. "They advised me they were unable to make a decision."

The four parties were told of Judge Dlott's decision in a private meeting and did not attend a news conference the judge called to introduce Dr. Kalmanoff and two members of his team.

"We were not apprised until today," City Manager Valerie Lemmie said Thursday. "What really counts is that the monitor has now been identified. It is a group that brings a wealth of experience. We look forward to moving forward."

The monitor's role is a critical one. Dr. Kalmanoff will provide the key oversight of two historic agreements the city made this year in the aftermath of the April 2001 riots, which were sparked by the police shooting death of a fleeing unarmed man in an Over-the-Rhine alley.

The agreements ended a Justice Department investigation and suspended a federal lawsuit that accused Cincinnati police of racial profiling and decades of discrimination against African-Americans.

For the next five years, the monitor is to ensure the police department meets a series of deadlines to overhaul use-of-force policies, create new standards for investigating citizen complaints and establish new standards for tracking problem officers.

The monitor is also supposed to collect data on when officers draw weapons from their holster and oversee a series of community efforts to establish a new system of community-police relations.

The 11 original applicants for the monitor job included auditors and teams of lawyers, security specialists and police consultants from New York to Los Angeles.

Dr. Kalmanoff said Thurday that he knows he was not the first choice of any of the parties - and Cincinnati is better for it.

"We're not tied to anybody," he said. "We have no allegiances to anybody."

He said he has not determined an approach to Cincinnati, and declined any comment about the police department. He said he has served in monitor-type roles in several high-profile cases and the best approach is always to assess the situation first.

The 60-year-old law professor promised that he would be open and accessible to the community.

"I am very, very honored by Judge Dlott's selection," he said. "I couldn't think of anything much more meaningful than this (job)."

Ms. Lemmie said salaries and costs for the monitor and his team have not been determined, but it will run the city at least $1 million over the next five years.

"(Dr. Kalmanoff's team) was not the city's first choice," Ms. Lemmie said. "It appears to be a very competent group. They have folks who have policing, legal and administrative experience. It seems that is the combined experience that will be needed to monitor the agreement."

The team is composed of academic types, police chiefs, former officers, authors and researchers throughout the nation.

Caroline Nicholl, a member of the team and former police chief in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, said the situation in Cincinnati now is similar to one she experienced in London, with riots and a general distrust between some citizens and officers.

"The police force there was seen as provocative," she said. "The first step was to find out what the problem is."

She said she implemented a new system of police-community relations that ultimately affected the entire metropolitan police force.

"It culminated in shifting the metropolitan police from a force to a service," she said. "It's important to engage the community. That's what community-oriented policing is about."

Dr. Kalmanoff has been used as a consultant by the Justice Department and has served as an investigator for Arkansas' governor, who was dealing with corruption issues in the state.

He also has conducted investigations of several police departments in California and in Salt Lake City; Omaha, Neb.; Birmingham, Ala.; West Palm Beach, Tampa and Orlando, Fla.; and Minneapolis.

Juleana Frierson, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati Black United Front, which filed the lawsuit against the city, said her group is pleased with the choice of the Kalmanoff team.

"The team appointed today by Judge Dlott was one of our finalists. Furthermore, Judge Andrew Douglas was also one of (our) finalists," she said. "He will be the on-the-ground representative for the monitoring team."

Ms. Frierson said the Black United Front and the police union agreed on many points during the negotiations, including ranking Justice Douglas as one of the top contenders among 11 applicants.

She said most of the disagreements they had were with the city.

"The city has been the odd man out," she said.

Justice Douglas is generally part of a court majority that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce considers too amenable to trial lawyers and opposed to business interests. Justice Douglas joined the majority Wednesday in ruling that Cincinnati could proceed with a lawsuit against gun makers.

Ms. Frierson said Dr. Kalmanoff has an extensive background in community-oriented policing and has worked to change the culture of police departments in cities across the nation.

Judge Dlott, who oversees the legal settlements, extended deadlines in September and October for selecting the monitor. She said she decided three weeks ago that she would have to choose the monitor, and settled on Dr. Kalmanoff after meeting him in Dayton last week.

"I believe this was by far the most qualified team," she said, referring to the partnership with Justice Douglas as a "dream team."