Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Police watchdog list down to 4

Citizen Complaint Authority leaderless

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST END - City officials, police and civil rights attorneys have interviewed four finalists for the job of Cincinnati's top police watchdog, and hope to name someone to the post by the end of the month.

It's none too soon for board members of the Citizen Complaint Authority, who complain that a lack of direction at the agency is hampering their police accountability efforts.

The candidates for the executive director's position are:

• Mitchell Watt Brown, the former police chief in Raleigh, N.C.

• Annetta J. Doss, an insurance investigator in Louisville.

• Wendell M. France, a former homicide commander in the Baltimore Police Department.

• Ladonna J. Hatton, an administrator for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Ted Plattenburg of the Angus Group, a downtown recruiting firm, said the finalists provide a good mix of experience. "The profile we put together was generally someone who had investigative experience."

Management ability and impartiality were also key attributes, Plattenburg said.

The Citizen Complaint Authority is perhaps the most significant permanent police reform that came out of the 2002 Collaborative Agreement. The director answers directly to the city manager; and a board of seven citizens appointed by the mayor gives policy guidance and reviews investigations of alleged excessive force, shots fired and alleged police misconduct.

The agency's first executive director, Toledo police veteran Nathanael L. Ford, quit last June after a few months on the job, citing family issues. Just Monday, the authority reached its full complement of five investigators with the hiring of a former state parole officer.

Board members say the lack of direction is becoming increasingly evident, as interim director Daniel Baker hasn't attended a board meeting since January. At Monday's session, investigators tried to resubmit a case that had been sent back for further investigation, and the board sent back two other cases they deemed incomplete.


E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com

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