Damon Lynch III, James Whalen, Saul A. Green, John Eck, James White and moderators David Thacher and Reuben Miller talk about Cincinnati's policing reform with partnerships with community organizations, police leaders, federal officials, academics, and many others. February, 2016.
>> Marvin Parnes: Ah, hello. I'm Marvin Parnes, the Managing Director at the Institute for Social Research, and I welcome you today on behalf of the institute and also my colleagues Susan Collins, Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School Public Policy and Laura Lein, Dean of the U of M School of Social Work who are cosponsors of this event. I think there's a little need to point out the relevance of today's topic as a news coverage over the past year has underscore the continuing issues that arise in the context of police work in America. We trust that this event using the successful efforts in police reform in Cincinnati as a point of departure will make a positive contribution to this important discussion. And the sponsorship by the Institute for Social Research and the schools of social work and social policy really demonstrate how issues related to policing are at the crossroads of many concerns with social policy, social justice, and social intervention as well as the challenges of measuring change and perception. I'd like to thank the staff who helped organize today's event, Cliff Martin and Laura Lein of The Ford School and Anna Massey and Jane Balo [assumed spelling] of Center for Institute Services at ISR. I also would like to recognize the effort of the director's advisory committee on diversity at the Institute for Social Research for stimulating several campus discussions on the topic of police discretion. So, our moderators will introduce the toping-- topic and our panelist and I will introduce them now. David Thacher is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning. He's research aims to develop and apply humanistic approaches to policy research and he is particularly interested in use of case study and narrative analysis to clarify the ethical foundations of public policy. Also Reuben Miller, Assistant Professor in School of Social Work and a Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center at ISR. His work focuses on criminal justice and social welfare policy, race and ethnic relations and the urban poor. Take it away. Thank you.
>> David Thacher: So, I'm hearing from Cliff that we need to turn off our cellphones in the front room, that's why we're getting that kind of bleep, bleep, bleep, if you could turn them to airplane mode or something that would be great. Thank you Marvin for that introduction and thanks also for all your good work putting this panel together. Um, we're at a really important moment in American policing right now. We have a level of social attention to policing and scrutiny of policing that we haven't seen in probably about 50 years. We have a window of opportunity in policing for real and lasting change and we have that window because of the passion and commitment of so many civil right activist over the past two years who have put policing in the national spotlight so successfully. You can get a little bit of a sense of how much it's in the spotlight if you look at that close up document available on the tables around the room, the-- our Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. Here at The Ford School, it's a report that describes how local government leaders around Michigan are thinking about policing right now. So we have this window of opportunity and the question is how are we going to use it? What are the models of policing that we have for the current moment for the 21st century that we can use to guide us going forward? What I think is most important is that we have a model of policing in our minds that recognizes the positive role that policing can play and needs to play in so many struggling communities around the country. Right now, we often see policing and social justice as being intention with each other and they tragically have been in tension with each other in too many cities. But we need to find a model of policing that avoids that tension at its best. Police work is part of the work of social justice. It's about protecting the victims of racial violence, it's about coming to the aid of people in crisis, it's about protecting rights to free speech and free assembly, it's about keeping parks and sidewalks safe so that people aren't prisoners in their own homes. The best police officers will all tell you that they got into their jobs because they wanted to help their communities. The best police officers want to be valued public servants playing a positive role and so the task is to find the policing strategy that can accomplish all the incredibly important work that every community needs their police to accomplish and that the most marginalized communities need more than anyone, but to do that in a way that avoids the indiscriminate and even brutal use of authority that we've seen too much of in the past two years especially in communities of color. That's the problem we're struggling with and talking about right now. Not just in cities with the most troubled police departments like Ferguson and Chicago and Inkster but all over the country. All over the country, we're trying to find a model of policing that accomplishes the essential work that police need to accomplish in a more humane way. And when those conversations get started in communities around the country, more than any other single example the place they keep turning to is Cincinnati. Our panelist will tell you a lot more about this, but Cincinnati 15 years ago went through a crisis in policing equal to anything we've been seeing anywhere else around the country today. Fifteen years ago, Cincinnati police officer, as you may know, shot and killed, 19-year-old black teenager named Timothy Thomas. He was the 15th person that police had killed in Cincinnati in about 5 years, all of them black. And the city exploded. There were four straight days of protest and rioting throughout Cincinnati. And the wake of all that upheaval for 15 years, Cincinnati has been engaged in an enormous amount of collaborative work trying to forge a new approach to policing for the city and to try to bridge that divide between the police and the community. Now I don't think anybody here on this panel would say that Cincinnati has totally eliminated all the conditions that contributed to that crisis 15 years ago, I'm sure we'll hear some of that during the panel discussion. But something important has changed in Cincinnati. In the year 2000, the Cincinnati police arrested almost 31,000 African-Americans on misdemeanor charges. That number has been cut by almost 60% by 2015. Use of force incidents by Cincinnati police officers have fallen even more rapidly than that, racial disparities associated with traffic stops have declined according to studies by the Ram Corporation and community perceptions of the police have improved in measurable ways as well. They've been working hard for 15 years now at developing a strategy of policing that makes it possible for officers to play the key role that they need to play in the communities that need their help the most, but without taking the lives and the reputations and the dignity of so many young men or women in the community along the way especially so many young men and women of color. They've been working hard to find strategies for resolving community problems in more focused ways and in more resourceful ways and they've been viewing the power of arrest increasingly as a scarce commodities, sort of a last resort that you only turn to when all the other options have failed. Getting to that point was a long and difficult process and it involved a lot of people, it involved the community activist who brought attention to the need for change in first place like the Reverend Damon Lynch at Cincinnati's Black United Front right in front of me. It involved the lawyers who mobilize the power of the law as a force for a change like Saul Green to his left who served as the monitor for the federal court overseeing the reforms. It involved academics who brought forth new ideas about how police can do their work like John Eck who worked with the Cincinnati Collaborative for many years and he's a graduate of The Ford School, we're proud to say here today. I'm sure he'll say that that's how he was able to play his role. And it involved the police officers who-- and police commanders, who were open to those new ideas and to those community concerns and who brought their own insights about how police could continue better overtime, people like James Whalen to John's left who served as a Commander for the Cincinnati Police Department for many years. Again, I don't think anybody on this panel would say that the progress that they'd made in Cincinnati was easy or smooth. I don't think anybody on this panel would say that they have all the answers but they have made some important progress and even the challenges and the unfinished business in Cincinnati has some important lessons that other cities can learn from. So, thanks to all of you for coming to share these experiences with us and I really look forward to hearing more about this important story and thank you also to Assistant Chief James White at the far end of the panel from the Detroit Police Department who will offer his thoughts about the lessons that Cincinnati story can hold for us here in Michigan. So, thanks to all of you for joining us here today.
[ Applause ]
So, for the next hour or so, Reuben Miller and I, Reuben you want to raise your hands and say hi to the crowd, we're going to trade off asking some questions to the panel to try to bring out the story of what happened in Cincinnati in more detail and bring out some of the lessons that it might hold for police reform in the 20th century. And I want to start by bringing us back to the beginning of this process of change in Cincinnati and ask especially Reverend Lynch, Damon-- Actually, he ask me to call him Damon and Jim Whalen to bring us back to that moment again in 2001 and the years leading up to us but leading up to it. Tell us a little bit about, you know, what policing was like in Cincinnati in that period, how it was perceived in the community, and how groups like the Black United Front that Damon was the president of at the time, how they were able to bring the city's attention to what was going wrong with policing in the city at the time. So, if the two of you could maybe spend about five minutes each talking about those issues that would be great.
>> Damon Lynch: All right, Jim, I'll start. Good afternoon everybody.
>> [Simultaneously] Good afternoon.
>> Damon Lynch: And five minutes is not a lot of time, so I'm going to talk fast. As I sit here, it's almost like my head hurts as we talk about policing and I wonder why is policing is such-- does it have to be such a big issue in our lives especially for poor people and African-American people. As I sit here, I'm not far from Detroit, I'm not sure how far Detroit is from here, but I think of 1992 and I guy named Malice Green who was beaten to death by a Detroit police who was hit 14 times in the head by a policeman's flashlight. The officers were convicted of that death and I'm wondering, why do things like that happen. I'm thinking about Tamir Rice in Cleveland Ohio, 12-year-old little boy in an open carry state and open carry state in Ohio means if you got a gun, you can walk around and just openly carry it. That's no-- That's not against the law. And within 1 and a half seconds of the officers coming on the scene, they pump bullets into his stomach and the 12-year-old boy is dead. I'm thinking about John Crawford III in Beavercreek Ohio, who was walking in a Walmart, picks up a pellet rifle from the shelf in Walmart and the officers are called and they come in and within seconds they just opened fired and killing again, in an open carry state. An open carry state where we've had others just walk around the city of Cincinnati with their AR, whatever they are, these semiautomatic rifles, you can just walk up and down the street and it's legal. I'm thinking about Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth who lived in Cincinnati for a lot of years who was one of Dr. King's cohorts in the Civil Rights Movement who moved to Cincinnati and called Cincinnati up south and he said, where the Southernmost Northern city in America. And he said that to say that we had a lot of the vestiges of Southern racism in the city of Cincinnati. I'm thinking about in the year 2000 in Cincinnati, in July of 2000 with a festival in our city, a music festival that a lot of people from Detroit attend that in the year 2000, 13 downtown restaurants closed their doors to a 50,000 African-Americans who came down just to have a good time. And that's not the year of 1950, that's the year 2000. Even with the passing of a Public Accommodations Act, they still closed their doors. And then-- So out of that what-- Happened in the year 2000, 13 downtown restaurants closing their doors to African-Americans, a group called the Black United Front was formed and I became the president. In November of 2000, two African-American men were killed by Cincinnati police within a 24-hour period. One young man named Jeffrey Irons, I think was accused of stealing a steak from a grocery store and it is said that as the officers came to arrest him, they got into a struggle, he reached for the officer's gun and of course, he was killed. The next guy was Jeffrey-- I mean was Roger Owensby and he-- the police came upon him and a scuffle ensued and he was choked to death. The corners report was mechanical affixation. From that, the Cincinnati Black United Front with our attorney filed a class action lawsuit against a biased policing in the City of Cincinnati. At that point, that Roger Owensby was killed Cincinnati police had killed 14 African-American men in a five year period. Some of them were justified, some of them were not in our eye, but at that point everybody dying was black. Every officer that killed them was white and we felt that there was a problem in the city of Cincinnati. The lawsuit was filed in March of 2001 and April of 2001, a 19-year-old black male was running from police, an office cornered him in an alley, pulled his gun and shouting. At the time that the officer is shouting, the officer was of course distraught and what he said was, "It just went off. It just went off." In other words, he didn't mean to shoot him, it was an accident, the gun just went off. He was running with his hand on the trigger and not on the guard and it just went off. Well later, the story changed. I'm sure somebody said, "You know, that's not going to fly." So the story then changed to he reached for his waist. And then of course there are these five famous words that every officer will use when they take a person's life, "I feared for my life." Those are five words that Supreme Court holds up to say if they have those five words, "I feared for my life," then 9 times out of 10, the officer is found to have been justified in taking a life. When Timothy Thomas was killed, Cincinnati divided. It divided pretty much along the lines of race. A large part of the white community said, "Well, why did he run?" A large part of the African-American community said, "Well, why are they shooting?" And what most people didn't understand is that, all of us have streams of consciousness. As an African-American born and raced in America, I have a dual-stream of consciousness. I have Eurocentric stream because I'm born and raced in America, I attended the same school as my white Jewish friends, I learned about the French Revolution, I learned American history, but I also have Afrocentric stream. I'm born in a black family, attend the black church, I live the black experience, I know what it means to be the only African-American in the room, in the boardroom, in the classroom. And that's a blessing for me to have that dual-stream of consciousness. Most white Americans though only have a Eurocentric stream of consciousness and really that's all you need in this Eurocentric country. The problem comes is when we see the same thing at the same time and come to different conclusions and I'm not sure of the age of this room, but for those of us who remember the OJ trial and we could have been all sitting in the same room at the same time and judge Lance Ito says, "Not guilty." You know what America did? It divided. Whey people said, well, I can't tell you what they said, you know what they say. I can tell you but I won't. And then black people like cheered at the verdict and we could have all watched Rodney King beating in Los Angeles and we divided and a lot of white America said, "Why didn't he just lay down?" And black America said, "Well, why are they keep beating him?" In Cincinnati, the vision with Timothy Thomas is, "Well, why did he run?" And a lot of the white community that was their question and the black community is, "Why are they shooting?" The issue is this, is that by having a dual-stream of consciousness, I can see what white people see. Why did he run? Why didn't Rodney King just lay down? And of course OJ did it. Who did it but OJ. But most white Americans can't see what I see because they don't have that different stream of consciousness, and so we keep dividing on these issues. Policing in America, and we're talking about 21st century policing, which I'm not so sure as any different than 19th century policing or 15th century policing. I mean, we share this in a small meeting earlier today is that for too long in this country, police have been the frontline of white supremacy and I don't even think they realized that they are the frontlines of white supremacy. And so, if you saw the movie Selma, if you remember the Civil Rights Movement, if you're trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, who's on the other end to stop you? Not governor George Wallace. Not the legislature. It's the police. They became the face of white supremacy. If you're trying to desegregate the lunch counters and they bring out the German shepherds and the water hoses and seek then on people, it's not the governor there with the German shepherd. Who's the face of it? It's the police. And we continue to see that today and if there's going to be a real change in policing, then we have to understand that America is routed and rounded in white supremacy and Native Americans understand that, Asian-Americans understand that, black Americans understand that, but we really need white Americans at some point to understand that and see how do we see uproot one of the major cancers in this country. So what we did in Cincinnati is we decided how do we bring our cities together? We'll take policing, which is right now they're at the forefront the face of the oppression of African-Americans and poor people in our city and how do we craft something that brings police reform but also better community relations that also brings about equity and equality and we came up with this agreement, it's called the Collaborative Agreement, some people call it in a historic collaborative agreement, that did bring about major change. It brought about major change in how policing is done where areas of use of force and accountability. But more than that, it brought a community together. It brought 3500 people together to speak about these issues and it brought a larger community together to understand that we have to change in Cincinnati that we're one city. And so finally let me say this. What we did at that time is we brought every tool from the civil rights tool box to bear. We brought legal, we filed a lawsuit against the city of Cincinnati. We brought protest. We were in the streets almost every night. We brought economic pressure. We had a breakout against the city of Cincinnati. The first person to pullout of Cincinnati for us was Bill Cosby. We said, "Don't come to Cincinnati." It was almost like, you know, don't play Cape Town. It was like-- It was, you know, "Don't go to South Africa." Bill Cosby pulled out. Whoopi Goldberg pulled out. Major conventions pulled out. And then we have three nights of civil unrest and I'm not sure which of the tools in the tool box was the most powerful but I know the economic boycott which cost the city about $60 million had an impact. The negative press had an impact. The three nights of civil unrest had an impact and that impact was really on the psyche of the city and my final finally is this. Most that is happen in the community where I pastored [phonetic] for 25 years, it was in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, the place called Over-the-Rhine. Over-the-Rhine while it was one of the poorest communities in the city, it housed our music hall where the symphony is and where the ballet is. And when there's unrest in Over-the-Rhine, there's this ease in a place called Indian Hill where the most affluent live. So we got phone calls, the activist, from people in Indian Hill saying, "What can we do to help?" I don't know if they were real or they just want to make sure they could safely go to the symphony but it didn't matter. We welcome their help. And it's been 15 years now and Cincinnati is a better place, not perfect, but we've come through a major time of trial and we had to face our own systemic issues, issues of poverty, issues of race and I think more importantly to me, I needed the police to understand that while each of them individually may be a great guy and a great girl, that you're pawns and you become the frontlines of the oppression of poor and black and Native American and Hispanic people in this country. So that's part of our story and I'm sure as the day goes on, we'll talk more, but that's where we were pre-2001.
>> David Thacher: Jim what do you-- What do this look like from the police perspective?
>> James Whalen: I retired from the Cincinnati Police Department in September of last year after spending 30 years there. I made captain, three weeks before Timothy Thomas was shot and killed. For anybody that's ever been in policing up through the rank of Lieutenant, you're a policeman. From captain and up, you're an administrator. So, I learned how to be a police officer throughout the entire era that the reverend just described. And I think we were the same as virtually every other place department was in the country at that time and many remained today. And I give you just a couple of pointers or couple of points about where I think we were. Community involvement was tolerated but not welcomed. We would listen to what folks had to say and then when they walked away, we would decide what we thought was the best way to go. I think we didn't have a sense of the whole. And we had a very singular perspective and if there's one transition that I think occurred from pre-2001 to post-2003 or 4 when we stopped denying the changes that needed to occur and started to actually do it and start to do it to embrace it. It was that singular approach. The police officer who's going down the street and gets evaluated every month or once a year or however the police department does it, on how many tickets they write and how many arrest they make, et cetera. What is on that police officer's mind? Whether that office is white, black, male, female, gay, Hispanic, whatever. If that's what you get evaluated on, that's what you do when you go out tomorrow. And if the police officer believes that they're helping the community by writing that ticket or making that arrest, that's where that confusion comes up between what the reverend described as the way that type of policing is received versus the way the police officers that provide that or inflict it, whichever we want to think about it that the service that the police think they're providing to the community at the time. So, leading up to 2001 that was our police department much the same I think as every other police department at that time and it think many remained that way to this day. The transition that occurred once we got it, once we started understanding where we needed to go to embrace the-- to truly embrace the community and to stop tolerating them and start working as part of the fabric of the community was when we adapted a much more holistic sense. What is really going to solve the problem is this guy going to jail today going to solve the problem? Or is it really a long-term mental health issue and we need to get social service resources and a trip to the hospital done here. And a lot of that goes to the statistics that Professor Thacher throughout the very beginning of this the decline in arrest, the decline in force, et cetera. I got to be part of the team that implemented that over the course of a number of years and then basically did our best to sustain it up until the time that I left and the Cincinnati Police Department of course carries on. It's not perfect. The minute you think you're done in this type of work, that's when you start sliding backwards but that's where we were pre-2001 looking forward.
>> Thank you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this conversation and how much we appreciate this conversation. I want to turn our attention for a moment to the obvious heat that had to be in the room when these different partners were coming together and I know that for example, well, given the attention in 2001, 2002 went on and we know that Reverend Lynch and Professor Eck and James, we're all involved in the process in one way or another. And so, I'm wondering if the three of you could describe what negotiations were like? What came of them? What were some of the challenges that arose during this period? What were some of the main principles that you were pushing for maybe that you didn't get? How did you come to agreement? How did you negotiate the heat, right, that's in the space?
>> John Eck: Thank you. First, let me tell you what a great thrill it is that be back here after something like 39 years. I can't believe it. Um, a place like this didn't exist when I was a masters student here and this school made a huge difference in my life, not only in my professional life, but I'm also married to a Ford School IPS graduate when we were here and we have a lovely daughter who is now fighting plan pathogens. So, I want to thank the school for have a great life in that respect. A lot of what I did on this, if not the specifics, the spirit of it came from but I learned at the University of Michigan, both as an undergraduate and as my masters program. My role in the negotiations was as a subject matter expert, I was brought into assist the negotiator Jay Rothman. My team with myself and a couple of graduate of students from University of Cincinnati, we drafted parts of the working document that acted as a negotiating instrument which eventually evolved into the collaborative of and we were-- we want to propose the use of a problem ordinary approach to policing as a strategy for the Cincinnati Police Department. I start working on police reform right after living here in 1977 and worked for about 17 years for a group called the Police Executive Research Forum. I've been doing police reform working mostly within police agencies. Cincinnati was the first time I had an opportunity to work with community member and it was eye opening experience. One of the things I had noticed over the years that there was a constant oscillation between those who wanted fair policing versus those who wanted effective policing or between those who disliked cuddling versus those who disliked brutality. We would see a form of policing come up which would try and treat people as fair and after a certain amount of time, those who thought crime is going to the roof would gain dominance. The police strategy would change. That would go on for awhile and that cycle would repeat itself. So, one of the things that I became very concerned with was that whatever a collaborative agreement ended up achieving it had to find someway of breaking that cycle. They had to have policing that was both fair and effective. It could not have people come back in several years and say "Well, that's very nice. You're hugging a bunch of black people but crime is coming through the roof." So one of the things that I was interested in is making sure some kind of policing strategy was embraced by the collaborative agreement that had a change of doing this. The one strategy of policing I was aware of, most because I worked on it for 17 years was probably most in that policing. At the same time I was working with the collaborative agreement process, I was also in a National Academy of Sciences panel on policing practices and policy. And it was clear from the evidence that we had been putting together that it was an effective strategy. There was a lot and probably more in policing that said it could be fair as well. The evidence on there is-- doesn't exist as much because no one studied it. It-- Problem in policing changes at work of policing from running around from incident to incident to actually trying to resolve underlying conditions at a modest level not trying to make the world, in general, less racist or less impoverished but trying to address the kind of things that generate the incidence that police can get into trouble with. While-- I think it's safe to say that with the exception of the police, no one who is involved in negotiations understood what problem are and that policing was when we first started.
>> James Whalen: We didn't get it either.
>> John Eck: Yeah. But you know the words [laughs].
>> James Whalen: Yeah, we heard the words.
>> John Eck: Yeah. What I found amazing in the negotiation process was how rapidly Reverend Lynch, member of his team and members of the Fraternal Order of Police who were brought in as part of the negotiations. Understanding exactly what this is to the point today, I think it's safe to say that you guys are better at explaining it than I am. This had huge implications for the monitoring team because I think as Saul will tell you that a good portion of his monitoring team were experts in this type of strategy. Um, the-- It is probably the case that it also took longer to actually implement the collaborative agreement than it would if we had not had that involved and it's still probably the issue that is most outstanding in terms of the thoroughness in which the police embrace it. To me, a lot of what I saw in this, because I was more an observer after having proposed it and just suggesting things that made sense and trying to keep people from-- doing things that made no sense, was a roller coaster ride that we went on. We would have a week of absolute awful behavior in which one despaired of anything useful coming on and then something good would happen and all of a sudden we were euphoric and then it went down to catastrophe and this went on for months. And towards the end, I honestly thought the whole thing was going to come apart. So inside, it was awful. At the end, I was delighted to be part of it but I cannot say that it was something that I would argue that everybody should be part of, so.
>> It's all you, one is up there.
>> Can you spell the name of that police strategy?
>> John Eck: Problem-oriented policing.
>> Oh Problem-oriented.
>> John Eck: Right.
>> John Eck: Yeah. If-- And for those of you who want to pursue it further, if you'd go to the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing website, popcenter.org, you can find out far more than you can learn in two years of a master's program.
>> Damon Lynch: That the process was messy as community processes always are. We have literally filed a lawsuit against the City of Cincinnati, they hated that. We had council persons at the time who would, you know, just totally disagree with our position and they was racially biased policing in City of Cincinnati. They-- We had council person who said the city should not sit down at the table and negotiate with us in a collaborative effort, we should just go to court and fight. What we-- The reason we want a collaborative effort, as I said earlier, I think, is we wanted to, at the end, bring the community together. We had just noticed that Pittsburgh had gone through similar issues and came out with a consent decree, the feds came in and they ended it with a consent decree which brought about necessary reforms but didn't bring about better community police relations. And we really wanted that for the City of Cincinnati. Most of us are born and raced in the city and we'll be there after the agreement is done. So we have city leaders who fought us but we were able to get a favorable federal judge who fought and to keep us all at the table. Throughout the process, we had a mayor who continued to try to get us, the plaintiffs, kicked off, we were the Black United Front because we were still doing the boycott and still doing the protest and he felt, "Well you know, hey, we're at the table, why are you still boycotting us?" And we said, "Well, because that keeps you at the table," so. And he tried numerous times to go to the judge and say, you know, kick these guys off and she wouldn't do it. The city brought in a high powered attorney sending Billy Martin from Washington DC. He's, you know, he handles celebrities and-- but we had a great set of attorneys. The agreement was actually written pretty much by our side because Billy Martin is not going to sit down and write all this stuff. So, every time we came to a meeting, we have experts like John Eck, and we brought it to the table. They would argue it but most of the times we would get what we wanted because we were actually the ones writing the agreement. So as John says, he wouldn't wish this process on anybody. For us, it was a necessary process. It had to come from the ground up. It came from the community's perspective. So, when it was a done deal and ended up in the hands of the community, we wanted them to see that this was their document. This was our fight for reforms, our fight for change. But yeah, it got real ugly sometime. I mean, literally, we had attorneys almost coming to physical blows. We had the judge sometimes calling us in and saying, "Hey, everybody in my chambers." And we're going to sit here all night. The final agreement I think was probably finished about 3 o'clock one morning and we were down in the judge's chambers that late before everybody agreed and we just-- we had a victory for the city. And of course after that is, how do you implement it? And that's where Mr. Saul Green comes in and that's a whole another story.
>> James Whalen: From the police department perspective, you got to remember we had a double edge sword going on here. We had the justice department conducting a pattern and practice investigation of the Cincinnati Police Department as well as the federal litigation what eventually became the collaborative agreement started off as a federal lawsuit as Reverend Lynch just referenced. Police department was way more concerned with the pattern and practice investigation, the city lawyers which was three blocks away and not our problem. We're dealing with the federal litigation that was occurring. Eventually, it was an evolution. It was a transition that brought those things together. But I can tell you from the police department's perspective it was a very adversarial process. There were police departments around the country that have had justice department intervention similar to ours that had hired high powered attorneys and to some extent beat it. It chased-- Not chased justice out of town but justice would eventually leave town without significant change occurring. There was thoughts of that entertained in our town, I'm sure, not so much with me in the room but I'm sure we had some meetings like that and some thoughts like that. The persistent effort for a collaborative approach eventually won the day. And I was assigned as the police department's primary rep to the justice department and so I negotiated, if you will, that side of it while others in the police department, in the city and then of course the parties negotiated the collaborative part of it and eventually those were brought together. Literally, the pattern and practice thing ended two, three weeks before the collaborative peace ended as the reverend said at 3 in the morning and then those were eventually brought together, the attorney of general of United States came to town, we had a big signing and it was kind of a big come-together moment for us to get started on it. We still had, in our mind, the police departments mind a very adversarial process on our hands and so I'll be able to-- so it's only 22 years old, but this process--
>> James Whalen: Ah, 23. My bad, he has had a birthday. But it was a very adversarial process and the police department was not accepting of it for a good couple of years until '03, '04 somewhere in there before we really kind of got it and started working towards it instead of fighting against it.
>> David Thacher: So, now you've got this agreement and it includes some of the kinds of things that a lot of these pattern and practice suits have like changing use of force guidelines, changing the complaint process but also has this point that John Eck mentioned of really changing the strategy at the police department to problem-oriented policing. And so now the job is, implement that and Saul Green is the court monitor supervising that. What would-- Tell me about that process of implementing this really ambitious agreement that among other things ask the police department to change the whole strategy of policing. What were the challenges involved in that? How did that process play out?
>> Saul Green: Um, it certainly wasn't a straight line from beginning to the end. The monitor's role is to take the-- generally, it's to take the federal agreements that are worked out and they're pretty straightforward. They come in, they investigate and look at things like use of force, they look at things like investigations, they look at things like training and set forth then-- and the parties agree on changing policy and then what steps will be done to implement. And as has been mentioned, that occurred. But along the side of this now is this collaborative agreement that says, "You will essentially change how you police, the style of policing." And so, it made the process of course bigger, more complicated, more parties at the table and the customary justice department agreement-- investigation you have the city and you have other department of justice and they are the two parties that have to be pushed toward compliance here has been alluded till you have the Black United Front as the plaintiff so you have the community involved, you have the police department, you have the union involved, the Fraternal Order of Police. So you had all the parties to perhaps come to a successful conclusion but parties who had never gotten along together through decades of interaction in Cincinnati. The monitor, again, is that person is appointed by the federal court and it's not a monitored that-- it was a monitoring team of 10 people who had different areas of expertise whether it would be use of force or training or problem-oriented policing. And much of what you had to do initially was just administrative. You had to come in and learn the city, who's who, how do they keep records, who's responsible for what in the police department, who are you going to be interacting with, and that in and of itself takes a moment or two to get right. But then, it gets down to actually trying to implement. And what happened in Cincinnati is what I think happens-- actually, all around the country with regard to these kind of agreement as I call it buyer's remorse. What happens is people come together, they work through the anger and frustration and getting to the agreement, everybody has their Kumbaya moment. And then you actually have to go from words to action. And so, when our monitoring team came in, we were met with tremendous hostility and we also noted what the way you, um, you infatuate the compliance is by writing a report every 90 days and saying is the city in the police department coming into compliance? And so, our first couple of reports were pretty dismal as it relates to the city and the police department. And the reaction from the city and the police department was fairly hostile toward us. And so, it was a process through three years of-- the first three years of back and forth coming in on a regular basis. You're looking at files, you're looking at reports, you're looking at records, you're interviewing people, you're going to training sessions, you're doing ride-alongs trying to figure out are they either incompliance, partially incompliance or not incompliance. And so, um, my good friend Professor Sam Gross in the back here, he reminded me of a conversation we had in about 2003 or 4 where as friends talk, I said to him, "I don't know what's going to happen down there. I'm looking-- I'm feeling pretty down and I don't know that this is going to work." But what eventually happened and this actually causes me some concern because arguably it may be serendipitous. These things work where there's leadership. There's leadership from the community. There was a leadership ultimately the input from academia. We fought with the police department until a city manager named Milton Dohoney was appointed. And Milton and police department responded to-- reported to the city manager and essentially Milton, I believe, told you guys we're going to implement this. We're going to do it. And he started to attend meetings and he started-- and so understand the chain of command, the police started to listen and understand and respond to this process when Jim talked-- said with regard to problem-oriented policing we didn't get it. Jim, one of the reasons you sip it in and get it, you all-- didn't want to get it. You wouldn't-- you'd-- you know the heck with this. It's-- So, if Dohoney had not come, if the pressure had not been kept up, if we didn't have all of the leadership come together at the same time, this room will be empty today because we would not have something positive to talk about. And so I think that this process ultimately succeeds where there is leadership at every level who says and accepts the fact the policing has to change in a community.
>> James Whalen: So, after the Kumbaya moment of the gram singing of the documents, we had two documents on our hands that basically merged into one but they were really two distinct documents. One was the department of justice agreement and the other one was the collaborative agreement. Looking back, I can tell you that the justice department was fairly-- the agreement was fairly easy to comply with. As a matter of fact, it was a five year monitoring period that was set on these and we got done with the justice department peace at about four years. You know, hardly ever see the justice department sign off on an agency before the full period is up. And from the technical peace of it, we redrafted policies, we redrew the training, we changed the evaluations and then all the other things like that that there was a checklist. There was a laundry list of things we had to do. We took what we used to do in training and put it into policy. We saw it as two different things. They sold it as one. We fought over that for awhile. We went from having a procedural manual like this to a procedural manual like this because the training manual we shoved into the procedure manual. To us, it was kind of whatever. But then as time went on, I got to understanding that. The collaborative agreement, there were parts of that that were I'll say easy. We all suffered to get through this but worked all that mountainous to get down. The citizens complain authority was something that needed to get done, citizen over side the police, something you still see resisted but it's a very good thing to have. There were some other pieces. The part that the police department literally choked on trying to get done was the thrust of problem-oriented policing as John mentioned before to change our focus. So, here's the deal. This is going to be so simple. You're going to think "Boy, they must be stupid." And I don't think we were stupid but it was this simple. Policeman walks down the street every day, the same drunk is laying on the same doorway every day. Policeman has to get him up for whatever reason, somebody complains or whatever. Policeman gets him up every day and takes him to jail, the hospital or walks him down to the detox center or the homeless shelter or whatever it may be. And in the policeman's mind, problem solved, problem solving, done. I literally have had that conversation with people that were above me in the Cincinnati police department at that time, other I've done some consulting around the country. I've had that conversation. Problem solving is, let's keep the guy from being drunk in the doorway tomorrow. It's just that simple and that's when policing starts to change. When you start thinking about it that way, when you don't wait until he's lying there covered in whatever he's covered in today and you do something about it before hand and you reduce the vulnerabilities, you reduce the confrontation, you change the way the police think about service to the community. You're not providing a service by gagging people that roll through a stop sign. You're gagging-- You're providing service to the community by doing something fundamental that keeps crashes from occurring in that intersection. That's the holistic sense that I've talked about before where I think we restricted our perspective to a very singular sense and we grew up in that regard. Again, not perfect but we got a lot better.
>> David Thacher: Um, so could I go just tiny bit off script here and ask maybe Saul and John and Jim just very briefly. I mean, so you're describing about this goal for problem-oriented policing what the officers should be doing is but I'm still struggling with what's the process of getting him to take it seriously? You talked about how there's so much resistance at the beginning of all this. Saul talked about the limited tools he has as a monitor to really oversee whether things are really changing. I don't know. Is there anything more to say about how you were able to win over enough of the officers to feel like there was a change and what people were doing in the department on a day-to-day basis?
>> James Whalen: I think there are two pieces and I'll be real quick and let these other guys talk.
>> David Thacher: Yeah.
>> James Whalen: One was a shift to-- We do not require college to be a Cincinnati police officer but we're naturally getting more and more people with more and more education, we're getting people that are a little bit older instead of everybody being 21, 22, 23 years older when they come on, our average age of a recruit now is in their late 20s. So people have a little bit more world experience and have a greater perspective on the community. That's one. Number two and I've mentioned this before, but it's the truth. What do you evaluate your people on? If you evaluate your people on basic 1960s law enforcement, then that's exactly what you're going to get. If you evaluate on a higher plane, then that's what you're going to get. When you mix those two together, you take people with a little bit more education, a little bit more of a world perspective and you give them a diagram that they need to complete, their daily work or their monthly work, whichever way you want to look at it and tell them to bring something home that fits this picture and not this picture, you get a better result.
>> Saul Green: And I think the things that Jim have just describe were important, I just think the process of getting there is different. I don't believe and I've also been-- I was involved in the dissented decree in Detroit and went out for 11 years. I don't think-- Unfortunately, the light doesn't kind of just go on. It doesn't just that we're, you know, police that around and one day they all say, "You know what? That does make sense. Let's start doing that tomorrow." What happens is pressure starts to build. It's somebody at a high enough level who says, "Tomorrow, you all need to start getting this." And I am the person-- the city manager evaluated the chief. And so, he has something that is now at stake and that's, you know, his future. And so-- and then the other thing that happened and it was very momentous was that the CPD was doing-- was essentially just thumbing their nose at the collaborative agreement. We had a member of our monitoring team who was supposed to go on a ride-along one day and she went to meet at the CPD with the higher ups and it had been arranged and the consented-- and the collaborative agreement allowed ride-alongs and they essentially told her, "Get out of the police station and leave." And so we brought a special report to the judge to-- for a material breach in the collaborative agreement and to hold the chief in contempt. Now, we didn't have to go that far. Suddenly, we were able to start talking to each other more. So there is-- If there is not pressure form the folks who care about better policing, these things either take forever or you do not get a result.
>> This leads quite naturally, I think into both two questions and so. The first being, we get this reform package how does one sustain it and if the panelist each could briefly speak to that for the sake of time, that would be fantastic and then second just to bring James White into the discussion is to think about how-- what lessons could be learned? What lessons could be applied in Detroit?
>> James White: Well, and I was actually enjoying listening to my colleagues here. Thank you for inviting me to the conversation. Um, well, you know, Cincinnati PD certainly has made great strives in reaching their goal of completing the requirements of their agreement. Um, but certainly the work is not done. I mean, when I look at lessons learned, there's really, you know, there's no magic in some of the aspects of the things that they've accomplished. What it really boils down to is treating people right, treating the community the right ways. So certainly, looking at some of the requirements and some of the successes they've had we've adopted similar practices but not as a result of Cincinnati's requirements but on our own through our own consent judgment. Um, when you look at engaging the community certainly training corner stones towards successful organization when police department historically are married in tradition, the ways that we've always done things and when you look at it, you've got officers who teach other officers who teach other officers so if you have a situation where, you know, you have conduct that is questionable, sometimes that conduct can be questionable but it could be within policy. So what we've find in Detroit in particular, we have to take a look at all of our policies. We have policies on the books from, you know, 40, 50 years ago that we were teaching new officers who were teaching, you know, bad ways of policing. So, you have to be progressive whether you're looking at Cincinnati, whether you're looking at New Orleans, you have to be progressive in policing and you have to honestly look at the issues impacting your community. There is no one size fit all type of approach to policing. You have to measure your community and your community needs against your ability to provide those services.
>> Damon Lynch: Could I ask just for all of us, an idea of a bad way of policing that police used to do that we should or don't do anymore.
>> James White: Sure. I mean, I can take up another hour telling you some of the bad ways of policing that we identified, but I'll keep it very simple. Um, we'll talk about the firearms training. Initially, we trained once a year for fire arms. We didn't require-- well, we didn't enforce our training requirements, so we had officers that we would find after they're involved in a shooting hadn't been trained in 2 or 3 years in firearms proficiency. Um, so, can they shoot a gun? Yes, but can they shoot a gun to our standard? While we were finding that there were some that needed remedial training. That was a bad practice. We had to practice our conditions of confinement decree spokes specifically to a pattern in practice of what we call round outs. And this is what I was taught when I join the police department some 20 years ago where if you have a homicide scene and you have witnesses of the homicide that were present when the homicide took place, you brought them in and you question them and they were not free to go. Now, we thought that that was, you know, policing. I didn't know that that was a problem. But after reading a hint to consent judgment and having be identified, I said, "Wow, I participated in that." We had a practice in conditions of confinement and let me say for the record, those things aren't present now, but we had a practice in our cell block where, you know, if you were what we call the doorman's position, which mean that you house the prisoners in the jail and you prepare their sandwiches, you fed everybody the same thing. So, I literally went finger print a prisoner if I had that assignment that day and make him a baloney sandwich on the same table that I fingerprinted. Why did I do that? Because I was taught to do that. So, when we looked at our practices, we went back and we strip down a lot of our policies and we made the appropriate adjustments but the other thing it took and to be frank, you have to be courageous and you have to look at your organization and you have to say, you know, from the very basic sense of appropriate conduct, is this right? Regardless of if you have a policy that supports it, is the conduct appropriate? And when we have that courageous conversation and we looked inward at the organization, we were able to have the difficult conversations with the leaders in the organization. A lot of times, law enforcement organizations look at, "Well, the policy says we can do it." "Well the policy doesn't make sense." You have to have the strength, if you will, to change the policy. Now, let me say this. Policing in general, we do a pretty good job. We do a really good job. But to look at what's happening in the country right now and say that we've got it all right, that's the problem, that's not a realistic courageous look at the issues. I think what has to happen and what we do in Detroit and we try to do in Detroit is we try to engage our community and we don't make it a thing, we don't make-- I really don't like themes. I don't like community policing from the standpoint of, you know, it's a concept. The community is what we police. I mean, that's what we do. Um, you know, we have very difficult jobs but we're not extra ordinary people. We have extraordinary jobs. We live in the community. We are the community. We are the people that we police. And overwhelmingly, people are good people. Now, we have knuckle heads and unfortunately, policing is a bad business where bad things happen. And if you're going to have the honest conversation-- I don't mean to stay on this box too long but if you're going to have an honest conversation, I think it starts with engaging the community and saying, "Listen, we're in a bad business and the business that we're in gets ugly sometimes but here's why we do what we do and here's how you can help us." We can't just impose our will on the community and I think that from our philosophy in Detroit is that we engage the community not just in times of crisis but when the waters are calm, so when crisis happens, you know, they're supporting us.
>> Damon Lynch: We had a discussion earlier in the back and we were talking about police forces who are now saying that they won't offer security at a Beyonce concert. And I watched the Super Bowl, I watched the half-time show and I obviously missed what-- I missed it. I mean, I know I watch and I had no clue it was owed to the Black Panthers or and, you know, I'm like-- And so-- But what does that say when you have police forces around the country because of whatever Beyonce did on that Sunday Super Bowl half-time party, we're not going to offer security at one of her concerts. And if it wasn't owed to the Black Panthers or, I don't know, she was too sexy or I don't know what it was. But it speaks to, again, this racial divide in our country. You know, in our city for years, we had our police officers protect the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan will come to Cincinnati like every year put up a cross on Fountain Square and our police force would offer protection. So, you can protect the Klan, which has a history of putting ropes around black people's necks, but you won't offer protection at a Beyonce concert or security at a Beyonce concert. That's the mindset that continues this divide in this thinking about in the African-American community we are policed while other communities are protected. And so, it's still a divide that we have to break down. So again, if you saw the Super Bowl half-time show, maybe you saw it but I missed it. You know, but the reaction to me just speaks a whole lot about how far we have not yet come in this country. I mean, America is a great experiment of a melting pot. I mean, we're different that almost every other country in the world, we have some of everybody here but we have to learn how to treat everybody the same with the same dignity and the same respect. And again as I said earlier, police officers like it or not, are often times the face in the frontline of how people are treated in this country.
>> James White: If I could piggyback that, I totally agree. I didn't see it either and what's concerning to me is the fact that we've had such a great divide as a result of half-time performance which speaks for even bigger issue that's not being discussed. I don't know if we can have this discussion without bringing in race and race is always a very uncomfortable discussion but it certainly something that's needed when you talk about police in there community, particularly urban communities where that's getting a lot of the attention now with regards to the shootings and some of the other things that are happening. So, I think as we go through this conversation whether today or tomorrow or whenever, the race discussion has to be had. And when we refuse to acknowledge the fact that policing in urban America is different, I think we're missing an opportunity for a discussion, a very useful discussion whether it'd be media packaging of crime. I mean, you can watch the news in any major city and the way that it's framed is even different. You know, you talk about a robbery in Detroit that will be package as a mugging in the suburbs and people don't know the impact of the words that happened, yhe people that are interviewed at crime scenes. You know, it gives you pause and makes you wonder, you know, is this by design or is this just acceptable. There are certain things and I watched the news every too much. I live the news but then I go home and watch it and you see how the design on certain areas of our community are, the people that are interviewed, the way that-- and someone instances I feel that they're disrespected even during the interview process, the people that are chosen to be interviewed. So, the race discussion has to be had. Now, with that being said, you know, I don't know any officer and I've worked with a number of officers for over 20 years, I've been in this business for 25, I've worked for Detroit for 20 that, you know, stands up every morning and says, "You know, I'm going to go in and violate some rights and humiliate myself and get my family on the news and try to go to prison." But what happens is, when these incidents happen, we have to be open and honest about them and if we make a mistake or we get it wrong, I'd think we can gain instant credibility with the community by acknowledging it and then going back and correcting the behavior, you know, what the officer in Detroit and, I'll be brief, um, we have a management awareness system that I'm very proud of. And one of the things that a management awareness system does for us is, let's say you got an officer who get citizens complains and all the citizens complaints were unfounded, so I've got an officer who gets 10 citizens complaints a year and he's done nothing wrong. Well, in times passed, we would say well, he's done nothing wrong, he had citizens complains and basically the investigation revealed that he didn't do anything wrong. Well, what we do now is we look at an officer that's up in the equal positions. So, a five year officer working day shift on another part of town. How many complaints does he have? We measure that officer against another officer and we said "Well, that officer has two complaints." So, we're looking at this officer and say, "Well what are you doing that's different?" And we're not necessarily saying that you're doing something wrong but maybe we can help you with the goal of keeping good police officers good. We get them into verbal judo. We do things for them to help them maintain their position because certainly, we want them, we want them to be good, we want them to maintain their professionalism and maintain their position with the police department. But if they're unable to do that, and they're unable to operate at the standards that we have set, we will not massage those standards down to accommodate an officer who is not meeting our minimum standards.
>> What-- Just wanting to briefly return to a point that's all raced and then go to the questions from the audience. Is that change in some ways must come from above? Was the-- Or least the EDAC for change must come from above, which I think is fascinating and important and given the challenges, I wonder what happens when the players from above change. And so, how then do we maintain a change? How do we maintain the reforms that happen? And so if the panelist particularly Saul if you could speak to this or any of the other panelist as well.
>> Saul Green: Yeah, and it comes to sustainability. Um, I felt in Cincinnati the most important document is we are coming to a close of the efforts down there was the final order that everybody signed in Cincinnati. And what it talked about was going forward. Because what can happen is, yes, when you're under the review of a federal court and the department of justice, well, you'd sooner or later will get it together and I've had few departments who still have them. But mostly, they'll get it together. But when justice leaves town and the judges no longer has oversight, and so, what they did in Cincinnati was to put in place-- what will happen going forward and a call for continual meetings between community and the city manager and the police to constantly talk about the issues and be able to bring up new shoes because they changed. And people do come and go and they forget. Now, I understand that these meeting still occurred that like everything else. There's had been ups and ties but because they're already at the tape, well I think they've realized recently we need to talk, we need to get this. And you didn't have to reform everything. And its bring people back together. So, one of the things is don't just go through this process and everybody go away and say-- and pat themselves on the back. You plan for the future to make sure that there is continued input exchange and hopefully sustainability.
>> James Whalen: The sustainability process that's all just described has survived three mayors, a couple city managers, a handful of police chiefs--
>> Thee city managers.
>> James Whalen: Three city managers. And it's still there. Um, it involves manager's advisory group, it's what it's called. It was created as a self-monitoring device. It meets every other month. The city manager presides over it and on the committee, its dozen, 15-ish or so people. John is still on it. The FOP is still on it, the Black United Front representatives are still on it. Um, and any key issues that are on the table get discussed. The biggest enemy to that kind of sustainability quite frankly is they'll all inactivity because as Saul mentioned before, it's the pressure that keeps everybody's toes to the fire and keeps everybody honest about the process. But I can tell you that when a police officer shoots a citizen in the city of Cincinnati, in the first couple of hours, the city manager reaches out to everybody out on that group and the group is very diverse and representative of the various segment of the city. Black representatives, Hispanic, nonprofit, big business all the way around the horn, faith community and they get an inside view within a couple of hours of what happened, what it looks like, whether a gun was recovered, what was the race of the officer, what was the race of the person that was shot, et cetera, et cetera. So that information can filter out to the community at least in a factual fashion in that process it's all mentioned. That process has have been flown, I signed on it for 15 years. The only reason I left is because I've retired a few months ago. And there were meetings where we would talk about the big sewer project in town or, you know, whether the ball team one last-- but I mean, it was silly sometimes, but then when things went happen around town that would cause the collaborative agreement to be implemented or invoked, it would be right back to the table. The meetings are already set, the players are already at the table and that's been a huge key to sustainability.
>> John Eck: Let me illustrate another thing that's important. Reverend Lynch talked about the need for this outside pressure here. After going through multiple mayors, multiple city managers, Alger Hartstein [assumed spelling], who is one of our attorneys, came to me and said, "Would you be interested in doing an outside assessment of how well the police are doing with implementing problem solving. I can get you some funding from a local philanthropic group." And I said, "Yes." And so, I quickly wrote a report based on interviews with Jim and half a dozen other people in the police and several people in the community and police gave me access to their data. What I found was that the problem solving stuff had slowed down considerably and I asked Jim why, and he says, "That's when I left patrol and I went off doing something else." But what was interesting was talking to the community members and members of the police department, is that they were strong interest in both groups in sustaining this and both groups felt very put upon that they somehow backed away in the process of switching city managers and mayors and so forth. So, two things, one is there is an inside group within the police department. Police departments are not a uniform mass although they looked that way from the outside, who were interested in this. But just as importantly, maybe more importantly, there are outside people who are willing to take the time and effort to collect the data and push it and continue to push it and we're not willing to let it go. Without that, I don't think any of this is sustainable. If there is any magic to what's going on in Cincinnati, it's that consistent dogged day after day showing up and saying this is what we signed, this is what we agreed to, are we living up to this and if we're not, how do we do it? That's-- It's a simple and as complex as that.
>> Now we move to the audience questions. So Selam [assumed spelling] and Brittney [assumed spelling], do you want to introduce yourselves?
>> Selam Misgano: Hi, My name is Selam Misgano. I'm a graduate student in the School of Public Health [inaudible]. Our first question comes from various people but also in Twitter. We want to know sort of where is Cincinnati now, and how is progress being monitored and evaluated, so if you can speak to sort of the data and statistics that's been used in order to track sort of how things are progressing?
>> James Whalen: I'll lead off just with some quick numbers. Our-- I say our, because I was there forever even though I'm gone, our arrest numbers have declined substantially and remained declining or at a substantially low degree. We've had good success in reducing crime. We had a terrible 2015 for gun violence like every other city in the country and I'm waiting on John, you and your cohorts to figure that out and tell us why. Um, so that continues. I think our discussion of sustainability goes to that question to a large degree of where we're at in the sustainability of the effort that goes into not back sliding and not becoming another city that have progress and is now back in the throes of demise but we still recognize and this is part of the discussion we have before. I don't want to speak for Reverend Lynch but he's right. There's a number of people in the community that'll say, "Well, nothing has changed. Nothing is any better. The police just shot and killed somebody last week, look at that." And if you'll look at it in a singular nature, it's tough to see. If you look at it over a long period of time, there's been a lot of progress made and there's been a lot of effort that's gone into it that I think still exist today.
>> Brittney Foxhall: Hi, I'm just going to-- oh, it worked, OK.
>> James Whalen: There you go.
>> Brittney Foxhall: My name is Brittney Foxhall. I'm a second year MPP here at The Ford School and I'm from Detroit Michigan. And the next question we have for you all is, how does problem-oriented policing differ from or overlap with the justice department's community-oriented policing services and how do this services contribute to solutions that are implemented at the local level?
>> John Eck: Sure, give me that one [laughs]. To be quite honest with you, I don't know what the justice department's notion of community policing is. One of the reasons I left Washington back in the '90s as I was sitting for years on a committee to define committee policing and I was bored out of my mind. Um, in some respect, committee policing is fairly straightforward it's treat people decently and pay attention to them, listen to them. I think Jim said, you know, this is policing. It shouldn't be any other way. I think there is a difference in-- it's a difference that makes them complimentary as opposed to oppositional. When you're doing community policing well, you are actually listening to people, you're listening to the hard things and you are-- you as in the police, are thinking yourself as a police organization not a law enforcement organization. That provides a basis for solving problems. So, the-- So solving problems is in some sense technical, in some sense an art. It involves officers and supervisors and command staff looking at their data, listening to people and saying in simple case, why are we constantly removing this person from this stoop, this drunk. Why are there many people like this we have to deal with on a routine basis? Who do we need to partner with to resolve this issue and then actually going back and collecting the data and find out whether you actually made any progress or whether you were just go and smoke. That's in a nutshell what that is. Now, some police departments can do that kind of thing or think they can without talking to the community. They identified their own problem, their crime analysis units are pretty good and they'd say, "Ah, there's a hot spot here. We've got some ideas. We'll bring in who ever and we'll solve it and the community is none the wiser." That is doing problem solving without the community and it had-- it's-- has some utility but it is a long way from what we wanted in Cincinnati. That's a very short way of trying to answer that question.
>> Damon Lynch: And I think also, and again, I'm not sure what the federal government's idea of community policing is, but I remember years ago when community policing was a term and the thought process of that point was we just need officers back walking the beat, you know, let's just get some officers walking the streets. And people would think cities would do that for six months and find that, you know, we really needed the officers in the cars and be able to make the runs and that was something nice form. It was nostalgic, you know, we're going back to maybe if we just get officers back on the streets and they can meet Ms. Sally and meet Mr. Jones and get to know the community. That was the idea of community policing. Problem-- Community problem-oriented policing is having police on the community solving issues or problems that lessens crime happening in the community, lessens interactions between policing communities that may turn out bad and then rewarding officers for solving problems as oppose to how many arrest you made, you know, we're going to give you a medal or pin or just the pat on the back for helping solve a community issue or community problem which makes the community safer in the end. So I think that's to me if there is a difference that would be the difference.
>> Selam Misgano: OK. So the next question is around the police work force. Um, and the question is has there been any change in focus in which-- in a way that police officers are trained and educated for the work and along with that is what is the racial makeup of the Cincinnati Police Department, has it changed in the last 15 years?
>> James Whalen: I can do most of that I think. The Cincinnati Police Department is in the low 30% African-Americans officers, 32, 33 something roughly a third maybe of African-American officers. Gender diversity, I want to say it's probably in the high 20s, 25, 27, 28% female officers and so, there's that. The training has changed a lot. If you look at-- Every state requires basic certification training and there's a lot of police departments that that's it. Other than the state in service training that's required every year, that's it. When you look beyond that and you look at best practice training of a missing person's, de-escalation, mental health, addicted people, domestic violence, sexual assault. There are best practice training things out there for all those key topics and those were all things that hit communities very hard. I'm very proud of the training with the Cincinnati Police Department does. As a matter of fact, in my new role as a safety director at the University of Cincinnati, I'm stealing every little bit of that and our officers will be going through this training over this year because that is the difference. It's the everyday-- John mentioned the everyday grind, the everyday showing up and living up to what you signed up to do. That's the backbone. That's the training that has to go into that kind of an approach. And so, that's the training shift that has occurred there.
>> Brittney Foxhall: You guys talked about earlier the culture within the Cincinnati Police Department and kind of the pushback that you experienced early on as you were trying to implement a lot of these reforms. So, we also know on the other hand that there's also a culture within the community of distrust. Um, so, what is the sense of-- What is the community feel currently towards the Cincinnati Police Department and what are some effective mechanism of building trust between the community and local law enforcement?
>> Damon Lynch: I think we mentioned the word here a couple of times sustainability and sustaining these agreements and sustaining the strength of the agreement is actually easier on the police force's side because it becomes part of their training, part of how they operate, becomes ingrained, they have, as Mr. Saul Green said, you know, you can have a chief of police who says this is how we're going to do it. It's a little harder on the community side though, like in this agreement this is almost 15 years old, has a whole new generation of young people who don't remember or where five years old when there were riots in Cincinnati in 2001 who may still have a sense of distrust among-- with police officers. So the community still has to do its job and saying, "Look, there is an agreement here, there is a way to file a complaint if you think an officer has disrespected you or mistreated you." And the difference is that community members aren't paid to do this. It's not their daily job. They go to work from 9 to 5 and then they have to do this as part of their, you know, activism or community involvement and that's been probably if the agreement has lax in any way, it's been in the community's side especially [inaudible] like we used to have something on the part during center that I think was really the push the problem-orient policing part.
>> Damon Lynch: That has not been up to par and so the community really needs to wake up 15 years later and say, you know, we want to reengage. So for the generation coming behind us that they don't have to go through what we went through. So, that's the hard part.
>> John Eck: In some sense, this speaks to the whole tragedy of the matter. What we're asking members of the African-American community to do is to step up and put a lot of pressure on the police after hours without overtime pay where the police go, they're paid for it and they get overtime. And--
>> James Whalen: Including the protest.
>> John Eck: Yeah, yeah. Including the protest and those of us in largely wide communities, we show up and we can moan about some frivolous thing but it's really not very taxing at all, so.
>> Selam Misgano: Um, this sort of goes along with the question earlier we asked about the difference between the community-oriented versus problem oriented. What are some of the concrete examples of how problem-oriented policing makes a difference in improving community relations? Does it work and if it did in Cincinnati's case, how did it really play out and how did it improve relations?
>> John Eck: Yeah, I'm not certain I can answer the second part of that all that well with any kind of precision but let me give you some kind of the examples for how this would work. So, let's say you have an apartment building with a lot of crime, all right. The typical way that you do it on a standard policing is you just respond to each of those calls, do whatever you need to do, arrest someone or not. All right. And those calls would mount up. Under a community policing strategy, what you might do would be try and organize the tenants and meet with them but it is unclear where that goes. One of the things that Cincinnati has been increasingly focused on is the idea that a very small percentage of addresses have most of the crime. And that if we're able to address that, that we can get-- we can make huge impacts on the safety of citizens and their welfare without burdening a lot of people with stops and so forth. The people who own those properties control those properties. So, a lot of the emphasis increasingly going to what can we do with the landlord and if the landlord is not going to work with the police, what kind of legal pressure can we put on the landlord up through very civil suits. There are several properties in the city that are under various court orders and then being litigated at this moment. That's one chunk of this. This is not the only way of doing it. But what that does is if you can change that property ownership either the way the owner currently operates or a new owner, one can reduce the need for actually sending police there that people who live on that property get not only the benefit of less crime and disorder, but they probably also gets their toilet fixed, they probably also get the bugs eradicated and also some other things which we really didn't think about when we walked into a panel on policing. So, that's one element. Another one is the fact that a large number of people end up coming into conflict with the police because they're mentally ill and one of the things that Cincinnati has done is partner with various mental illness experts and resources within the city to help divert those people so that they are handled by professionals who really know what they're doing and taking out of the hands of the cops who really feel uncomfortable in this situation. So now, how the citizens know this? Well, most citizens won't know it unless they're the brother, sister, mother, daughter of the mentally ill person, they won't know. Unless they live in that apartment building, they won't know. So this is like a real dilemma is how do you tell people about this kinds of stuff when they're exposed very little of it?
>> Brittney Foxhall: If much racially bias policing is the result of unconscious bias, how do you practically then change the policing? What strategies are available to fight the result of unconscious prejudices?
>> James Whalen: There's a professor from Florida, Lorie Fridell. Florida, right? Um, that if you go to fairandimpartialpolicing.com, she's made an entire training regimen out of the study, the scientific study of bias. And bias is an interesting thing. My police colleague here talked about the discomfort that comes with talking about race, having a frank discussion about race. You want to really make cops uncomfortable talk about bias. The thing that Lorie Fridell was successful in doing in the session that she did for the Universities of Cincinnati Police for the entire University of Police Department was to break bias down into scientific terms. When you think about bias, right away my brain goes to good people versus bad people. Bad people are bias, good people aren't bias and that's all there is to it. But she started the whole thing off with a real quick example. If you're walking down the street at night by yourself and there was some group of people walking towards you, she asks us, "Tell me some characteristics of that group of people walking towards you that would make you have zero fear for yourself?" And so we were saying things like obviously faith community people nuns and priests or small or children or elderly people and she said, "Heh, implicit bias. There you go." You're making an assumption that something's going to happen based on what somebody looks like or what your preconceive notion is. Like, oh, OK I get it. So, when you have explicit bias, people that are bigots, racists, people that hate someone because of their race, their religion or skin color or whatever it may be. Entry level into policing needs to do a really, really good job of screening those people out of the process and if they do make it through getting them out before they get off probation, et cetera, because fighting with the unions and the civil service rule is though once you get past all that. Educating police officers around an implicit bias and not letting-- understanding it is natural and not letting it interfere in your decision making process as you go about your business raising it to an educational level is a key advance in looking at bias policing.
>> Selam Misgano: So, in the story that you guys have told us today sort of the catalyst was a tragedy that took place in Cincinnati. And so, in terms of activism and in terms of sort of the political action that took place that seem to be an important piece of it, um, the question asked, does it always take this kind of dramatic event to happen in order for us to sort of make the changes that we need to make? And so, in terms of like are there other ways to get this process started not just something dramatic really terrible happening?
>> John Eck: Great question.
>> Damon Lynch: Yeah, good question.
>> Saul Green: It's hard.
>> Damon Lynch: I would want to say yes that you don't always have to have some kind of critical incident but I'm thinking back over history. Um, I don't know. I've-- I just know in Cincinnati it took that. You know, we have years and years of problems and I think it took it-- it took that happening for the broader community to understand and Cincinnati is pretty much black and white. We have very little other ethnic groups, you know, we're like 50/50 black and white. So, when I say the broader community, I really mean the white community to see that wow we do have an issue. And I think sometimes it takes that for those in denial to see that there's really a problem but I would love to say it doesn't always have to be that kind of incident and maybe Saul can speak to that something.
>> Saul Green: What I would add is that unfortunately that seems to be what the course that things have taken this country. I've been involved in this Cincinnati situation, very much involved in the Detroit consent decrees there and there wasn't a civil disturbance but, you know, there was consented decree for-- the way we conducted our holding cells but a number of people died. There was like consent decree for use for force, a number of people were shot and it gradually built up to the need to take action. And what's sad to me is we haven't figured out a way for convincing departments to kind of self-correct to take a look at themselves in a way that is that's objective and fair and within some context, some of the context that Damon referred to earlier that the purpose they have served in this country and so we-- there's a tragedy and then there's an investigation and then the other problem with that is you have to understand that [inaudible] what are there, 17, 18,000 police departments in the United States so that so often is the Department of Justice who kind of reacts and goes in and does the investigation. If you looked at the size of the special lit section of the Department of Justice who conducts these investigations, I think they may have 25 people. And so, the resources that are necessary to respond to the magnitude of this issue just aren't there but my response would be based on everything I've looked at over the years it's almost always based on some type of extreme occurrence or occurrences over a period of time.
>> Damon Lynch: And let me just say this. And Saul mentioned it will be good if police forces could just proactively do this. We went to Ferguson and we go as a team and we actually go with CPD, we went with the former president of the FOP, we went with a lady named Maris Harold [assumed spelling] who pretty much does the problem-orient policing in Cincinnati. We went to Ferguson, we met with the commission but we also met with a number of police chiefs from around the area and then the Ferguson Missouri area there's like a whole bunch of little police divisions. I actually went into the room because I thought I was invited but I wasn't so I was kicked out of the room but our police Marison and Cathy [assumed spelling] went into the room and they spoke to all these chiefs about problem-oriented policing. When they came out, they said, and these are two white women, this is the most racist bunch of people I've ever seen and they were disrespected maybe because they were women, I'm not sure, but these officers, these police chiefs from the Ferguson area said, "We don't want to hear that garbage. We're not going to change how we police and we're not doing any of that." Now, eventually they will because they're going to have an incident and went sadly that that's what it's going to take but that's how these two police women from Cincinnati were treated in that Ferguson community.
>> John Eck: Yeah, I think one way of thinking about this is if you think about the things are going around roughly swimmingly [phonetic] and then something happens and then you have to fix it, then it sounds awful. But actually, that's how I looked at things up until around 2001 and the thing that I learned most of this was that I don't know much about what's going on in my city most of the time and that's why I'm very careful about explaining is like, is Cincinnati good? I don't know honestly, you know. So, if you think about crap is happening most of the time, but we're not hearing about it, then these crises are actually opportunities. And I think that's one of the things to take away from it. There are plenty of opportunities out there to do good. There is not a cadre of policy analyst sitting around monitoring things who can basically write a report and hand it to someone else in the bureaucracy who will then take action. No. Shit will happen and then someone has to fix it and you should look for that opportunity to fix.
>> One last question.
>> Brittney Foxhall: This question is for you Reverend Lynch. It seems like you and the Black United Front specifically represented the black community in this Cincinnati reform process. So, what sort of intercommunity where negotiations or disagreements took place during that time?
>> Damon Lynch: Oh wow, a lot because the Black United Front wasn't the only grassroots activist group in the city at that time. Um, wow. We had battles within the front first of all when I was the president and I'm a pastor of a Christian Church but I have Black Nationalist in the group, I had atheist in the group. I kept talking about nonviolence social change so they thought I was Kingian [phonetic] and they were Malcolm and, you know, we battled and we met every week for three years. That's a lot in our church. But then there were other activist groups that were not part of us who were also helping with the boycott but we were the once getting the attention, we were the ones at the table. So there was some jealousy with that. It is not easy. It was not easy. We-- I mean, we had personal loses during that time, you lose a lot of friends, I always say I lost a lot of white friends because before that, you know, I was like a nice guy it's like Damon is on the board of this and his on this committee and now what's he doing on the street with these radicals? And it's funny, I mean, people that you thought were friends walk away over these issues and it's even funnier now that they're coming back [laughs]. So, it's not easy being out front is, I mean, it was-- and it's almost forced on you because somebody has to step up. And what I say is this and needs to be the last thing I say so it's somebody has to climb the flagpole and I say that is an owe to Bree Newsome whose father runs the freedom center in the city of Cincinnati and Bree Newsome is a young lady who climbed the flagpole in South Carolina and pulled down the rebel flag and you will always need somebody willing to climb the flagpole. And I say that to anybody in this room. You know, you may one day find yourself being that person to make this country a better place. So at that time, we were the once who climbed the flag pole.
>> Marvin Parnes: Well, I'm glad to end on a note of personal responsibility and an opportunity for all of us to take that message to heart. I would like us to thank our moderates, our panel, our questioners, and really appreciate people's attention and focus today. Thank you very much, really.
[ Applause ]