Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Police panel asks for money

Chief isn't so sure about the idea

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of Cincinnati leaders that promised frank talk about how police and citizens get along now wants to continue its work as a permanent, funded arm of City Hall.

        Members of the Public Safety Roundtable unveiled their recommendations Monday, suggesting an ongoing version of the group and $200,000 in city funding for each of the next two years.

        Among the things the new group would do: create more ways for citizens to have input; stage an annual conference on police/community relations; and produce a quarterly newsletter about the positive steps taken to improve the relationship between cops and citizens. It also recommended involving local corporations to help pay for things such as a new adopt-a-neighborhood program.

        New Councilman Chris Monzel, who replaced group founder Charlie Winburn on council, plans to introduce an ordinance Wednesday to establish the permanent group.

        Mayor Charlie Luken said he would do his best to bring the proposed Mayor's Community/Public Safety Forum to fruition.

        “I'm hearing words here like "respect' and "honesty,'” the mayor said after the group presented its proposal at a Monday meeting of council's law committee. “Those are really some fundamental concepts that our community's going to have to adopt.”

        Police Chief Tom Streicher, a member of the panel, said he wasn't sure another police advisory group was necessary. But he said he appreciated the “efforts that were made and the diverse points of view that are there,” and said the dialogue deserved to continue.

        “Our work is far from over,” he said. “I think this is merely the opening of a book that will never end.”

        The round table dedicated its work to the 14 African-American citizens killed in police-involved incidents over the past five years and the three officers killed in that time, particularly to Officer Kevin Crayon. He was killed in September after being dragged by a car driven by a 12-year-old.


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