Saturday, June 16, 2001

Booth says cultural audits can wait

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Councilman Paul Booth wants to put a hold on his controversial request for a cultural audit of the city's police and fire divisions.

        Mr. Booth will ask for the delay at Monday's Law and Public Safety Committee meeting, asking that further discussions on the audit be put off until a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the police division is complete.

        “I continue to believe a cultural audit will be an extremely valuable tool to measure the problems in the police division's policies,” Mr. Booth said.

        The issue of a cultural audit has been controversial, particularly with Republican members of council. Councilmen Pat DeWine and Phil Heimlich have called the idea ridiculous.

        “Council needs to quit throwing away taxpayer dollars on these kinds of ridiculous feel-good programs,” Mr. DeWine said.

        The audit, which would analyze the departments' internal race relations and policies, likely would cost more than $500,000.

        Mr. Booth said such criticism is why the city is now under a Justice Department probe.

        “When I introduced the idea, we hadn't had riots, and the Justice Department wasn't in town,” Mr. Booth said. “If we had initiated this months ago, it's possible that the Justice Department wouldn't even be involved now.

        “As a result, instead of having the opportunity to determine our own destiny, it will be determined for us by the Justice Deptment.”


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