Tuesday, February 26, 2002
Enquirer staff and news services
Complete text of police department response
This is the text of Cincinnati Police's report sent to the Justice Department by William R. Billy Martin, a Washington, D.C. attorney who has represented the city of Cincinnati during Justice's patterns and practices investigation of police.
January 31, 2002
TO: Steven H. Rosenbaum, Esquire
Chief, Special Litigation Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
FROM: William R. Martin
Dyer Ellis & Joseph counselors at law
(Delivered) BY HAND
Re: Investigation of Cincinnati Police Department
Dear Mr. Rosenbaum:
As Special Counsel for the City of Cincinnati, I write in response to your October 23, 2001 letter of recommendations for the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD). We appreciate your words regarding the City's cooperation in your review of the CPD's policies and practices. We likewise are grateful for the courteous and professional manner in which you and your team have conducted your review during the past year. It was also gratifying to have Assistant Attorney General Ralph Boyd travel to Cincinnati to meet with City officials and provide a personal briefing.
The most basic civil right is to be free from fear and harm in one's home, neighborhood and community. The CPD's mission is to protect and serve the citizens of Cincinnati, and to respect their civil liberties. The women and men of this police force are public servants who understand and cherish these principles. The CPD is committed to continuous improvement and is dedicated to providing the best possible police service to the people of Cincinnati.
During the past year, we have reviewed and delivered to you thousands of individual reports and policy manuals covering the years 1995 to 2001. Along with your attorneys and police experts, we have had the opportunity to meet with the CPD command staff to better understand the current state of CPD policies and practices.
In reviewing your October 23, 2001 correspondence, we have identified 91 distinct suggestions. Though we are not yet authorized by the City Government to provide the City's final response to your recommendations, we provide this initial response to facilitate your review. With that in mind, your specific suggestions are addressed seriatim.
I. USE OF FORCE POLICY
1. The CPD should revise its Use of Force policy to clarify ambiguous terms such as "apprehend the offender," "affect the arrest" and "perform their duty."
The CPD agrees with this recommendation, and will remove or define ambiguous language. The CPD also will remove language that states officers may use force to "perform their duty." The revised policy statement will clearly state that officers may use that degree of force reasonably necessary to make an arrest or an investigatory stop. The policy also will authorize officers to use force in self-defense or protection of others.
2. The CPD should revise its Use of Force policy to state that chokeholds may not be used unless the use of deadly force is appropriate.
The referenced language will be revised to explicitly forbid chokeholds except where the use of deadly force is appropriate.
3. To the extent that chemical irritant (CI) is the CPD's "primary response to aggressive citizen behavior," the CPD should define the term "aggressive citizen behavior" to limit the use of CI.
In November 2001, the CPD inserted a narrative block in its CI reports. This revision will give officers a better opportunity to describe the incident that led to the use of CI. In addition, the CI report will capture the number of times that CI was used.
The following "aggressive citizen behavior" terms are descriptive only, and mere reference to them will not, without more, justify the use of CI.
Resistive Tension after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject makes his body (or any limb the officer is attempting to control) rigid by tensing his muscles.
Conspicuously Ignoring after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject refuses to respond to the officer's questions, refuses to look at or acknowledge the officer, talks to companions as if the officer is not present, turns to leave or engages in other similar conduct by which the subject shows contempt for the officer's ability to enforce his/her authority.
Exaggerated Movement after refusing to comply with the verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject's movement invades the officer's reactionary gap (the recommended minimum or whatever safety space the officer can afford); through generalized, agitated motion, subjects often "gear up" physically and mentally, for directed violence.
Combative/Assaultive after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject displays a weapon, threatens to possess a weapon, or is reported to have a weapon.
Excessive Emotional Tension after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject talks too loudly, argues belligerently or stares angrily; there is a high correlation between emotional distress and physical conflict, especially when the subject starts identifying the officer as the problem or alleges that the officer wants to use violence against him.
Ceased All Movement after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, the subject abruptly stops all movement.
Violent History after refusing to comply with verbal commands to submit to arrest, subject is known to have a violent background; the more violence a subject has experienced in his life, either as a perpetrator or a victim, the higher the probability he will use violence as a tool in a confrontation with an officer.
Supervisors completing the CI report will be required to fully describe the circumstances of the encounter with the citizen, and to explain the context in which the CI was used.
4. To the extent officers are authorized to use CI as a "crowd control device in self-defense situations, or to disperse a disorderly crowd," the CPD should define those terms.
The term "self defense situation" is defined in Procedure 12.550 (Discharging Firearms by Police Personnel) to include any situation in which the officer perceives a risk of harm to himself or another at the hands of a suspect.
The term "disorderly crowd" will be defined in Procedure 12.545 (Use of Force) as "an unstable situation involving a risk of harm to the officer or other citizens where probable cause exists for multiple arrests, though such arrests may not be feasible."
5. The CPD should require a supervisor's approval prior to use of CI on a crowd, unless exigent circumstances exist.
We agree that, absent exigent circumstances, supervisory approval should be required for CI use on a crowd. Consistent with Procedure 12.545 (Use of Force), if police presence and verbal commands fail to disperse a disorderly crowd that poses a risk of harm to someone, the next least intrusive response is CI.
6. The use of CI on a disorderly prisoner should be subject to the highest level of scrutiny.
The CPD agrees that CI rarely should be used on a restrained individual. The use of CI on a "disorderly prisoner" should be confined to situations in which the detainee is acting in a violent manner and poses a threat to himself, the officer or others. Such uses of CI will continue to receive high-level scrutiny.
7. To ensure the appropriate use of CI, the CPD should weigh CI canisters on a regular basis, or at least track the number of canisters issued to an officer. The CPD also should provide regular in-service training on proper targets, ranges and quantities for CI use.
CPD officers will receive enhanced training (e.g., appropriate targets, ranges and quantities) on the use of CI. Weighing CI canisters on a regular basis is problematic because there is no certified weight when the canisters are received from the manufacturer. Additionally, officers are advised in training periodically to test their CI canister by spraying it in an open area.
The CPD tracks the issuance of CI canisters through CPD Requisition Forms (Form 630). This data will be incorporated into an enhanced Risk Management System that will trigger automatic reviews to identify potential problems.
8. The CPD should review its choice of CI, and consider switching to a different type of irritant (i.e. mace vs. pepper spray).
The CPD currently is reviewing available research on this issue.
9. The CPD should adopt a "find & bark" policy, and eliminate undefined terms from its canine policy.
The CPD utilizes its canine unit primarily for finding individuals, and all CPD officers are required to use the minimum amount of force reasonably necessary under the circumstances. The CPD will amend its procedures to limit off-leash canine deployments, searches and other instances in which the suspect is wanted for a felony, offense of violence or is reasonably is suspected to be armed. The CPD will continue to require canine officers to obtain canine unit supervisor approval (or field supervisor approval if a canine unit supervisor cannot be located) before a canine is deployed; that supervisor will evaluate the use of a canine based on the totality of the circumstances. In all circumstances in which a canine is permitted to bite or apprehend a suspect by biting, the handler will be required to call off the canine at the first possible moment the canine can safely be released.
10. The canine policy should, absent exigent circumstances, require appropriate verbal warnings before a canine is deployed.
The CPD will continue to require that canine handlers issue a loud and clear announcement that a canine will be deployed and advise the suspect to surrender and remain still if approached by a canine.
11. Except for building searches, the CPD canine policy should prohibit releasing the canine from its leash until ready to be deployed.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Procedure 12.140 (Canine Operations) is being revised, and one of the revisions will clarify the instances in which a canine will be released from its leash during a search.
12. The CPD's canine policy should provide guidance for post-release handler controls.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Handlers are held responsible for all of a canine's actions, both on- and off-leash. The CPD will ensure that policy and training clearly convey that in all circumstances in which a canine is permitted to bite or apprehend a suspect by biting, the handler will be required to call off the canine at the first possible moment the canine can be safely released. In fact, this already is an essential component of the CPD's canine certification from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA), which is renewed every two years. It also is a component of United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) standards, which the CPD follows.
13. To the extent CPD policy permits canines to be used as "psychological deterrents" in high crime areas, that term should be defined.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation, and has removed this language from its procedures.
14. To the extent CPD policy permits canines to be used to arrest those who commit a felony or "serious misdemeanor," that term should be defined.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Procedure 12.140 (Canine Operations) is being revised. One of the proposed revisions would replace the term "serious misdemeanor" with the phrase "offensive of violence or reason to believe the suspect is armed."
15. The CPD should track apprehensions (finds) without bites, as well as "bite ratios" (i.e. the number of apprehensions accomplished by means of a canine bite, divided by the total number of apprehensions.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD will continue to track apprehensions without bites, and will calculate bite ratios on a monthly basis. In addition, the CPD will track all canine deployments through an additional reporting requirement.
16. All supervisores should receive formal standardized training in canine handling procedures.
The CPD agrees with this recommendations. All CPD personnel receive training on canine abilities, deployment etc. as recruits. The CPD recently included mandatory canine deployment training in its "New Supervisors Training" program, and will incorporate additional and enhanced canine deployment training for supervisors on a continuing basis.
17. The CPD should adopt a use of force continuum.
The CPD will clarify its use of force training to emphasize continuum concepts. This training will focus on both escalation and de-escalation techniques. CPD training will continue to emphasize that officers should use the least coercive means necessary to obtain compliance.
18. The CPD should create a committee to advise the Planning Section on policy development, and should increase community involvement in this process.
The CPD will expand its reliance upon both civilians and a cross-section of police ranks in the policy development process. The CPD will continue to provide proposed policy changes to the Fraternal Order of Police and appropriate standing committees and organizations (e.g., Police Mental Health Committee, Citizens Police Advisory Committee, Committee on Hate Crimes, Institute for Policy Research and Development) for review and comment. In addition, the CPD will provided proposed policy changes to the Office of Municipal Investigations (or other appropriate civilian review authority) for review and comment. The CPD also will entertain comments from these groups at any time.
To increase community involvement, the CPD will distribute proposed policy revisions to the Community Councils for their review and comment. Proposed policy revisions also will be published on the CPD's website, which will allow citizens to provide their comments directly to the CPD.
19. Every policy change should be evaluated by the Office of the City Solicitor.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The City Solicitor has assigned an attorney to work with the CPD on a full-time basis.
20. The CPD should require officers to report all physical and instrumental acts that impose any degree of force on a civilian, including all acts that currently would be regarded as restraining force.
To identify feasible alternatives to the current policy, the CPD will review its use of force policy in the context of current practices employed by comparable law enforcement agencies. The CPD believes its current reporting requirement, when incorporated into the new Risk Management System, will adequately identify officers whose conduct may warrant higher level review. In addition, all citizen complaints of improper restraining force now will be referred to the Internal Investigations Section. See Response to Recommendation No. 44.
21. The CPD should use a single uniform use of force report that indicates each and every type of force that was used during an encounter, and should require the evaluation of each use of force.
The CPD will require that the narrative portion of each use of force report fully describe each type of force used during the encounter, and it will require supervisory evaluation of each use. The CPD also will implement an enhanced Risk Management System that will track uses of force by encounter and by type of force used.
22. The CPD should provide a narrative on each CI report.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation, and has revised the CI report accordingly.
23. The CPD should require that photos be taken when complainants suffer prolonged physical injury from CI usage.
The CPD is in compliance with this recommendation.
II. USE OF FORCE REPORTING
24. The CPD should require that officers report any instance in which they unholster their firearm and point it at an individual.
CPD officers are not trained to "brandish firearms in a wide variety of circumstances." Procedure 12.550 (Discharging of Firearms by Police Personnel) states: "At such time as a police officer perceives what he interprets to be a threat of loss of life or serious physical injury to himself or others at the hands of another, he has the authority to display a firearm, with finger outside the trigger guard and have it ready for self-defense. The finger is only to be placed on the trigger when on target and ready to engage a threat."
CPD procedure is comprehensive and the focus of continuous training of all sworn personnel. As indicated, the decision to un-holster a firearm is a three-step process: First, the officer must perceive a threat. Second, the officer may unholster the firearm, assuming either a low-ready or on-target position, depending on the threat. Third, the officer may place his finger on the trigger when on-target and ready to engage the threat. An additional reporting requirement would be unnecessarily cumbersome and, likely, not useful. More importantly, the CPD strongly believes that this proposed reporting requirement would have a chilling effect that would adversely affect officer safety.
A citizen who believes that a firearm was pointed at him improperly has several avenues through which to complain, including at least three that are outside the CPD (e.g., the Office of Municipal Investigation and Civilian Police Review Panel-or other appropriate civilian review authorities-and federal authorities).
25. The CPD should revise its use of force reports to clearly indicate the conduct that they are designated to measure, and to avoid suggesting that force can be used in inappropriate ways.
See Response to Recommendation No. 3. The revised definitions have been, and will continue to be, provided to all supervisors along with additional training on their application.
26. An officer who uses force should provide a written narrative explaining the sequence of events and circumstances that prompted each use of force.
Use of force reports are completed by supervisors, not line officers. The CPD's existing procedure requires supervisors to conduct an audio-taped interview with any officer involved in a use of force. This has proven superior to written statements because the officer can provide a more useful explanation of the sequence of events that prompted the use of force, and because it captures responses to specific questions posed by the investigating supervisor. This complete record of the incident then is available for further review of the incident.
III. PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY
27. Information about the complaint process should be included in a pamphlet that is available at City Hall and in a visible place in the public reception area of each District station. The CPD also should consider making information about the complaint process available on-line.
The City and CPD agree with this recommendation and such a pamphlet will be developed and published. The CPD will evaluate whether it is feasible also to publish this information on the CPD's website along with a link that would allow citizens to email their complaints directly to the CPD or an appropriate civilian review authority (e.g., the Office of Municipal Investigation).
The City recently entered into a contract with a commercial internet group known as Planet Feedback. Planet Feedback provides a service whereby citizens may report their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with an entity. Planet Feedback then forwards the information to the involved entity. This will add a new method for citizens to file complaints with the CPD.
28. The CPD should reinstitute its customer satisfaction surveys, and include questions regarding the public's perception of the complaint process.
For approximately the last twenty years, the University of Cincinnati has conducted a customer satisfaction survey for the CPD. The survey was reinstituted in 2001, and it did incorporate questions regarding the complaint process. In addition, the CPD conducts its own random surveys to assess customer satisfaction, and the City conducts a comprehensive citizen satisfaction survey that incorporates an assessment of the CPD.
29. CPD supervisors should receive appropriate training in handling and adjudicating citizen complaints.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. A two-hour block on Citizen Complaint handling was taught last year to all CPD supervisors during Management Training. The CPD will continue to enhance existing training as necessary.
30. The CPD should reinforce to its staff that failure to accept a citizen's complaint is always unacceptable.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. CPD policy is clear that all citizen complaints must be accepted, and this is reinforced during New Supervisors Training and Management Training.
31. CPD policy that encourages a complaining citizen to appear in person at a District station may have a deterrent effect on would-be complainants who fear retaliation or are unable or otherwise reluctant to appear at a police station.
The CPD believes that its policy of encouraging a complaining citizen to appear personally at a District station is a legitimate aid to a proper investigation because it enables the receiving supervisor to observe the citizen's account of the incident first-hand. It also provides an opportunity for the supervisor to photograph any injuries, damaged property, torn clothing etc. Importantly, CPD personnel are instructed to grant reasonable requests to meet with a complaining witness at another location in order to take a complaint. Nevertheless, CPD policy requires that a complaint be taken even if the citizen refuses to appear in person, and the CPD does not accept complaints received by telephone, mail, public media, third-parties and anonymously.
32. The CPD should complete a Citizen's Complaint Form every time a person makes a complaint, whether in person, by telephone or by mail.
CPD Procedure 15.100 (Citizen's Complaints) requires that all citizen complaints be documented on a Form 648 (Citizen Complaint Form) regardless of how the complaint was received. If a citizen's concerns do not satisfy CPD criteria for an actual complaint, the receiving supervisor must document the circumstances of the citizen's concern on a Form 17. In all cases, it is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that the complaining citizen understands the complaint process and the result.
33. Each citizen's complaint should be assigned a unique identifier that is provided to the complainant and tracked by the type of complaint at a central control desk.
The CPD tracks each complaint by the citizen's name. The CPD does not believe a different alpha-numeric identifier would be more effective and notes that current practice ensures the complainant will not forget the identifier assigned to his/her complaint. Additionally, however, the receiving supervisor is required to provide the complainant with a copy of the first page of the complaint form, which can serve as a reference point in future discussions.
The CPD agrees that collection of complaint information should be centralized, and it will review available means to achieve that objective.
34. The CPD should eliminate the section on the Citizen's Complaint Form that requires the receiving officer to make subjective assessments of the complainant's credibility or mental or physical state (e.g. whether the "complainant/subject exhibits any unusual behavior").
The CPD will change the quoted language to a separate question asking the receiving officer to describe the "complainants's demeanor and physical condition."
Form 648 (Citizen Complaint Form) is designed to elicit all information that may be relevant to investigation of the complaint. The complainant's physical and mental states are documented because they may be relevant to the CPD's investigation of the complaint. For example, if the complainant obviously is intoxicated, that may cloud his recollection of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The findings of each investigation are reviewed through the chain-of-command to ensure that all complaints are handled in a uniform and proper manner.
35. Sergeants charged with accepting citizen complaints should receive appropriate training, with an emphasis on interpersonal skills.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation and although they have provided this training in the past, they will enhance such training in the future.
36. The CPD should provide training on appropriate burdens of proof and credibility assessment techniques to supervisors responsible for investigating and determining the outcome of a complaint.
The CPD will enhance current training, and emphasize appropriate burdens of proof and credibility assessment techniques. The CPD will continue to provide targeted training to all new supervisors; that program was reinforced last year with a two-hour block of instruction on citizen's complaint receipt and processing.
37. The Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI) has never had sufficient staff to carry out its mission of investigating serious misconduct by the CPD.
The City is reviewing methods to strengthen civilian and citizen review of the CPD. This review includes proposals submitted by the Collaborative and other community groups. The City is committed to making meaningful changes to the scope and structure of the civilian review process. The City has not yet completed its study, but a proposal will be forthcoming.
38. There is no formal mechanism to ensure that the CPD addresses OMI findings.
As detailed in response to Recommendation No. 37 above, the City is reviewing methods to strengthen civilian and citizen review of the CPD, and will propose a new structure.
39. There is a lack of coordination between OMI and the CPD when both are investigating the same incident.
As the process currently exists, the Internal Investigation Section (IIS) is the CPD liaison with OMI; all OMI requests are directed to IIS for answers and assistance. The City will ensure that appropriate lines of communication remain open and are fully utilized. As detailed in response to Recommendation No. 37 above, the City is reviewing methods to strengthen civilian and citizen review of the CPD, and will propose a new structure.
40. A non-CPD body should investigate all allegations of serious misconduct to ensure an objective and thorough handling.
As detailed in response to Recommendation No. 37 above, the City is reviewing methods to strengthen civilian and citizen review of the CPD, and will propose a new structure.
41. There should be formal mechanisms for the CPD to respond in writing to any discrepancies between its own investigations and those conducted by the non-CPD body. The CPD should be required to explain in writing how the discrepancy was resolved was resolved and why it was resolved in that manner.
As detailed in response to Recommendation No. 37. above, the City is reviewing methods to strengthen civilian and citizen review of the CPD, and will propose a new structure.
42. The CPD should conduct additional community outreach to expand public awareness of complaint adjudication by OMI, CPRP and CHRC.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. See Response to Recommendation No. 27.
43. Members of OMI, CPRP and CHRC should be allowed to address CPD recruit and training classes regarding their respective functions.
It has been the practice of the CPD to allow members of OMI, CPRP and CHRC to address CPD recruit classes. Although the civilian review structure will undergo change, the City is committed to continuing the practice of including appropriate civilian and citizen review authorities to address recruit classes.
44. The CPD should consider narrowing the categories of complaints that are investigated through the Citizens Complaint Review Process (CCRP) to those involving discourtesy, rudeness and similar complaints. The CCRP should not be used to investigate complaints of improper restraining force, discrimination or improper search and seizure.
The CPD will refer all complaints of excessive force, including improper use of restraining force, to the Internal Investigations Section (IIS). Complaints of discrimination or improper search and seizure will be evaluated by the District Commander before they are referred either to the CCRP or the IIS. In all circumstances, a CCRP complaint will be referred to the IIS if the investigation reveals potential serious misconduct or a pattern of complaints that may warrant higher level review.
45. The CPD should regard complaints of improper restraining force and unlawful search and seizure as serious misconduct, not minor matters.
The CPD does not consider improper restraining force or unlawful search and seizure complaints to be minor matters. Any conduct by CPD personnel that offends a citizen is important, as evidenced by the language in Procedure 15.100 (Citizens Complaints): A citizen complaint is any allegation of any action or inaction by CPD personnel that the individual considers to be contrary to law, proper procedure, good order, or in some manner prejudicial to the individual, the CPD, or the community.
Though complaints of improper restraining force no longer will be referred to the CCRP, we note that the CCRP does entail a serious review. The CCRP was developed in 1997 to improve the handling of citizen's complaints by (1) expediting the investigation, (2) hastening the response to the citizen, and (3) providing an opportunity for the citizen to meet with the involved officer and a supervisor. All complaints-whether ultimately assigned to the CCRP or not-are documented in the same fashion. Complaints assigned to the CCRP are thoroughly investigated by the employee's first-line supervisor, and appropriate cases will be referred to the IIS. Finally, each CCRP file and report is reviewed up the chain-of-command tothe Assistant Chief in order to ensure that each complaint receives appropriate attention and resources.
46. Officers guilty of serious misconduct should receive serious discipline, not merely an oral reprimand or Evaluation Supplement Log (ESL) entry.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation; officers guilty of serious misconduct should receive serious discipline. Ordinarily, the most severe discipline an officer will receive for a complaint handled by the CCRP is a written reprimand. Most CCRP investigations that show the officer failed to meet CPD standards are closed with verbal counseling or a notation in the officer's ESL. Where a CCRP investigation reveals serious misconduct or a pattern of conduct that does not meet CPD standards, the complaint will be referred to the Internal Investigations Section (IIS). Although supervisors currently are trained to identify circumstances in which a CCRP complaint should be referred to IIS, additional training will be provided.
47. Complaints handled through the CCRP should be fully investigated and adjudicated prior to a complaint resolution meeting.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Procedure 15.100 (Citizen Complaints) requires that all CCRP complaints be fully investigated and resolved before the supervisor and officer meet with the complainant. No complaint can be closed without a full investigation and administrative review by the command staff. Neither citizen satisfaction with the process nor attendance at the complaint resolution meeting can influence the results of the investigation.
48. The CPD should consider changing where the CCRP complaint resolution meetings are held.
Complaint resolution meetings are held at CPD facilities in order to save money and avoid scheduling difficulties. Using CPD facilities also permits the CPD to ensure a quiet and calm environment that is conducive to a productive meeting.
The purpose of the complaint resolution meeting is to provide feedback to the citizen. By the time that meeting occurs, the CPD already will have completed its investigation and implemented any necessary corrective action. Accordingly, if the citizen chooses not to participate in the feedback session, that decision will not affect the outcome of the investigation.
49. The CPD should consider having a higher-level supervisor or a non-CPD mediator conduct the CCRP complaint resolution meetings.
Having a higher-ranking supervisor conduct the CCRP citizen meeting would undermine the premise of CCRP; ie., that the involved officer's first-line supervisor is in the best position to ensure that the continuous improvement needs of the employee and the CPD are satisfied.
Having a mediator conduct the citizen meeting also would undermine the CCRP's premise. The citizen meeting is not intended to determine fault or assign blame. Inclusion of a mediator would convert the meeting into an adversarial encounter, rather than one in which the CPD provides feedback to the citizen. In addition, inclusion of a mediator would lead to additional costs and scheduling difficulties, thereby slowing down the entire process
All CCRP investigations are reviewed by an Assistant Police Chief prior to closure.
50. The CPD should allow the complainant to bring a support person to the complaint resolution meeting.
CPD personnel are trained to require that juvenile complainants be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and that mentally challenged complainants be permitted to bring a support person.
Allowing all complainants to bring a support person would violate the basic premise of the CCRP and the complaint resolution meeting, which is a non-adversarial feedback session. If permitted to do so, complainants likely would bring witnesses to the meeting, thereby converting the meeting into something akin to a trial. Additionally, if the complainant brings a support person, the involved officer likely will demand FOP representation, thereby adding to the trial atmosphere and straying further from the meeting's intended purpose.
51. District Resource Committee meetings should be well publicized to ensure all community leaders have the opportunity to attend.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. It is the duty of each District Commander to become well acquainted with the various community leaders within his/her District. District Resource meetings long have been a method for District personnel and community leaders to meet and discuss pertinent issues. The Patrol Bureau Commander will work to ensure proper and uniform publication. In addition, the CPD will post notice of future meetings on its website, and fax notices of future meetings to community newspapers.
52. The CPD would require that District Resource Committee meetings be held regularly.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The Patrol Bureau Commander will work to implement this recommendation.
53. The CPD should encourage all officers who patrol an area to attend community meetings as schedules and resources permit.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Attendance at community meetings already is a component of the CPD's Community Oriented Policing philosophy. As a practical matter, it can be difficult to implement because officers work on different shifts and many will be off-duty during community meetings. However, Neighborhood Officers who attend the meetings will be responsible to relay relevant information between beat officers and community representatives.
54. Neighborhood Officers should only be transferred with sufficient lead time to allow for a transition period to a new Neighborhood Officer.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Residents and community council representatives often become very attached to Neighborhood Officers. Where feasible, arrangements will be made for the outgoing Neighborhood Officer to assist with the transition to the new Neighborhood Officer.
IV MONITORING AND AUDITING
55. The CPD would collect and monitor trend data (i.e. citizen complaints broken down by type of complaint, or use of force data broken down by shift).
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The Internal Investigations Section and the Districts currently track complaints by the type of complaint submitted. The CPD will attempt to incorporate shift data into the new Risk Management System.
56. The CPD should make officer activity trend date available to all supervisors, and it should be made clear that it is each supervisor's responsibility to monitor that data to ensure that officers under his/her command are using force appropriately.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The referenced data will be available to all supervisors, and the CPD will enhance existing training to ensure that supervisors understand their responsibility to monitor that data and supervise officers under their command accordingly.
57. The CPD should centralize all of its disciplinary information regarding officers, and that information should be automated.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD is researching acquisition of a Records Management System for all CPD records. The projected cost for such a system ranges from $4 million to $7 million. If such a system were acquired, it would be an ideal place to maintain corrective and disciplinary action records.
58. The CPD should expand and formalize its mechanism for reviewing firearm discharges to include a cross-section of CPD personnel who will review the incident for compliance with policy and procedure requirements, as well as for tactical and training related implications.
Firearm discharges by CPD personnel are investigated independently by the officer's chain-of-command, the Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) and the Internal Investigations Section. Those investigations then are reviewed by the Inspections and Training Sections. In addition, the CIS investigation is reviewed by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office. CPD will ensure that a complete package of these materials is forwarded to, and reviewed by, the Training Section.
59. The CPD should institute a Risk Management System that tracks a wider variety of conduct over a longer period of time.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. A new Risk Management System will be implemented, and it will track, inter alia:
Discharge of a firearm
Use of physical force
Use of chemical irritant
Injuries to prisoners
Named as a defendant to a lawsuit
The new Risk Management System will track officer activity based on incidents occurring during a period of time greater than twelve (12) months, although the specific time period has not yet been determined.
60. The CPD should standardize its auditing practices,and increase the frequency of its audits.
CPD Unit Audit Every 3 years
Property Room Audit Quarterly
Property Room Audit Unannounced/Random
Pre-Auction Audit Semi-annually
Drug Room Audit Pursuant to Destruction Order issued by court
Court Inspection Random
Site Security Audit Random
Detail Audit Random
CCRP Audit Quarterly
PCF Audit Quarterly
Uniform Audit Annually
61. The CPD should increase the scope of its audit function including, for example, by monitoring the frequency with which officers charge suspects with resisting arrest, assault on an officer and obstruction of justice.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Using data that already is collected, the CPD will monitor the referenced conduct. This will assist in identifying officers who would benefit from additional training in interpersonal and/or tactical skills, as well as those officers who violate CPD policies and procedures for charging individuals.
62. The CPD should monitor patterns and trends regarding officers' court activity, including the dismissal of charges and officers' failure to appear to testify.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD currently is implementing a process to monitor patterns and trends regarding officers' court activity, including the dismissal of charges and officers' failure to appear to testify.
63. The Inspections Section should meet regularly with the prosecutor to identify problems in officer performance.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. This is current practice. The CPD staffs a full-time Court Control Office, including a sworn supervisor, in the Hamilton County Courthouse. The function of the Court Control Office is to ensure that officers who appear for court are punctual and properly dressed and groomed. They also track officers who fail to appear as required. The Court Control supervisor conducts random checks of the courtrooms, observing the officers' demeanor and the quality of their testimony.
The CPD maintains a close working relationship with both the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Prosecutor's Offices. Frequent meetings occur between CPD command staff and senior prosecutors, during which any problems or areas of mutual concern are discussed and resolved.
Finally, the City Solicitor recently assigned an attorney to work with the CPD on a full-time basis.
64. The CPD should audit investigations conducted by the Internal Investigations Section.
The CPD agrees, and will implement this recommendation.
65. The CPD should increase crime analysis capabilities to track more types of officer activity, such as pursuits and citizen complaints.
The CPD agrees this informations should be tracked to the extent possible and, where practical, should be used to further crime analysis capability.
66. The CPD should increase its crime analysis staff, perhaps by adding civilian staff or by outsourcing crime analysis functions.
The CPD agrees that crime analysis always can be improved, but nevertheless is dependant on financial resources. The CPD will review the feasibility of outsourcing these functions.
67. The CPD should require its officers to use mobile video recorders (MVRs) in more circumstances including, for example, during all violent prisoner transports.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation.
68. MVR tapes should be used to correct or discipline officers who engage in improper conduct.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. MVRs have been used for this purpose since they first were placed in CPD vehicles. Procedure 12.537 (Mobile Video Recording Equipment) requires supervisors to review MVR tapes for officer misconduct whenever an officer is involved in an injury to prisoner, injury to officer, use of force, vehicle pursuit, officer-in-need-of-assistance run or an incident that results in a citizen complaint.
69. The CPD should increase its retention period for MVR tapes beyond 30 days.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. As a matter of fact, the CPD has increased its MVR tape retention period to ninety (90) days in response to the Department of Justice's recommendation.
70. Current policy states supervisors should review MVR tapes if applicable. This is an ambiguous directive that could cause tapes to go un-reviewed when they should be reviewed.
The CPD will revise the language of Procedure 12.537 (Mobile Video Recording Equipment) to confirm that supervisors must review MVR tapes whenever an officer is involved in an injury to prisoner, injury to officer, use of force, vehicle pursuit, officer-in-need-of-assistance run or an incident that results in a citizen complaint.
71. Supervisors should be required, rather than encouraged, to conduct random checks of the working condition of MVR cameras during each shift.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Currently, each relief Officer-in-Charge is required to review two randomly selected video tapes each week. In addition, MVR cameras routinely are inspected during monthly vehicle inspections (documented on Form 427) and in response to normal daily activity. Finally, Procedure 12.537 (Mobile Video Recording Equipment) requires officers to report damaged or malfunctioning equipment.
72. The CPD should upgrade communications technology.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD will install new Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) in each vehicle. MDC terminals are being implemented county-wide and will increase efficiency by providing greater technology support for field officers and greater communication between city and county police agencies. The CPD's ability to achieve state-of-the-art status in technology is limited by financial resources.
73. The CPD should have a separate technology budget so that technology funding does not come at the expense of other programs.
Funds available to the CPD are recommended by the City Manager for approval by the City Council as part of a thorough budget process. The City will seek additional resources to maintain a fully funded technology budget for the CPD.
74. District Commanders should regularly inform the Police Communications Section (PCS) about on-going special operations in specific areas so that officers dispatched to those areas could be notified of the police activity.
The CPD respectfully disagrees with this recommendation based on its concern that widespread dissemination of the referenced information might compromise an ongoing criminal investigation and pose a threat to officer and civilian safety. Procedures 12.700 (Search Warrants/Consent to Search) and 12.175 (Use of Special Weapons and Tactics Unit) require PCS notification of imminent or ongoing special operations, and the CPD complies with that requirement.
75. PCS telephone operators should be given more guidance (e.g., scripts, checklists) on the types of questions to ask in particular situations.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. PCS call takers currently work with computers that prompt them to ask certain questions in particular situations. The CPD soon will complete its new Call Takers Guide, which will serve as an additional reference for questions to ask and information to obtain in particular situations.
CPD call-takers also receive substantial training. The State of Ohio requires 40 hours of training, plus successful completion of a test, before the applicant can be certified by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officers (APCO). Currently, CPD call-takers receive:
8 hours orientation to the CPD and the PCS
12 hours training on PCS standard operating procedures and the
CPD's Manual of Rules and Regulations
40 hours training in the APCO Telecommunicator Course, followed
by a certification test
40 hours of simulation training
45 days (360 hours) of on-the-job training with a Communications
Training Officer (CTO). Each day of training is documented on a
Daily Observation Report.
A minimum of 20 training days must be rated as Acceptable
or above for the new call taker to be released from training
at the end of this schedule.
Employees acting as Training Officers are separately
certified as instructors by APCO. This certification course
includes 24 hours of instruction.
4 hours observing each of the following:
Police Call taker Position
Police Dispatcher Position
Fire Call taker Position
Fire Dispatcher Position
Wanted Check/Wrecker Rotation/Out-of-Town Notify Position
Telephone Crime Reporting Unit Position
Riding assignments (8 hours each) in each of the five police districts and one Fire CPD unit.
76. The CPD should provide more in-service training on use of force decision-making and weapons use. All CPD training in use of force decision-making should encompass both training officers to only use reasonable force, and instructing them in tactics and de-escalation techniques that can eliminate the need to use force. This training should focus on actual scenarios encountered by CPD officers.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Recruit and in-service training emphasizes de-escalation techniques, including verbal skills, empty hands controls and disengagement. These skills also are emphasized in daily roll call training. The CPD will consider ways to enhance force avoidance, minimization training and de-escalation of force as appropriate.
77. The CPD should provide more in-service training in the use of firearms.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. CPD officers currently receive firearms instruction during annual qualification drills, annual Civil Defense Operation Plan training, and during an annual combat course. The CPD already has added an additional day of firearms training each year.
78. The CPD should provide additional training to simulate the conditions officers would face in the field (e.g., night training and physical stress training).
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD is building an indoor target range that will improve low-level light training; construction is scheduled for completion in early 2002. CPD officers already participate annually in a combat course designed to simulate real-world situations, including physical stress. The CPD also utilizes a Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) that requires officers to handle firearms under various scenarios. The CPD recently purchased an upgraded FATS system that provides more realistic scenarios and allows the Training Staff to create its own scenarios using real incidents and local settings.
79. In-service training should include more instruction in use of force decision-making.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD will consider ways to enhance current in-service training in use of force decision-making. As already indicated, The CPD will modify its use of force training to incorporate continuum concepts that emphasize both escalation and de-escalation techniques. See Response to Recommendation No. 17. The CPD also is enhancing its simulation training programs, which necessarily emphasize use of force decision-making. See Responses to Recommendation Nos. 76 and 78.
80. The CPD should institute a formal mechanism for the Training Section to be notified about firearms discharges by CPD officers so that they may be reviewed for training purposes.
The CPD agrees and will implement this recommendation.
81. The CPD should institute a formal mechanism for the Internal Investigations Section (IIS) to notify the Training Section of issues identified during misconduct investigations that may suggest a need for additional training.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Although IIS and Training Section frequently exchange this sort of information on an informal basis, the CPD will implement a procedure to mandate the exchange of information.
82. The Training Section staff should meet with the Solicitor's Office every time a civil suit is settled.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD will develop a schedule for the Training Section and Solicitor's Office to meet on a regular basis to review pending and settled civil lawsuits.
83. The CPD should provide greater incentives, such as pay or training preference, to attract the best officers to serve as Field Training Officers (FTOs).
The CPD agrees with this recommendation.
In addition to a special uniform insignia, each FTO receives two financial incentives: (1) one overtime hour of pay (at 1.5 times the officer's regular rate) for each day of service as an FTO, and (2) special assignment pay increases of 65 cents per hour for each hour the officer serves as an FTO. Thus, if an FTO works every hour of every day while assigned a probationary police officer (PPO), he/she will receive approximately $2,500 of incentive compensation per recruit class. The CPD believes that all officers, regardless of FTO status, should have equal access to advance training courses.
84. CPD officers with significant disciplinary histories, or who have received a significant number of sustained citizen complaints, should be ineligible for the FTO program.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Procedure 13.100 (Field Training Officer Program) requires District Commanders to consider a prospective FTO's disciplinary record, oral communication skills, common sense, attitude and maturity.
85. FTOs should be appointed to limited terms (subject to reappointment) and District Commanders should have the authority to remove an officer from the FTO program.
The CPD will continue to evaluate FTO performance on a regular basis, and the Police Chief will emphasize to District Commanders that they have the authority to remove an officer from the FTO program.
86. The Training Section staff should play a role in the selection of FTOs and in evaluating whether a particular FTO should be retained.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation.
87. The CPD should create a mechanism for recruits to provide anonymous evaluations of their FTOs.
Respectfully, the CPD disagrees with this recommendation. The CPD believes that recruit evaluations of their FTOs should be attributed by name. Permitting evaluations to be submitted on an anonymous basis would undermine training on chain-of-command and individual officer accountability issues.
The foregoing notwithstanding,the CPD has implemented several checks and balances to ensure the quality of FTO personnel and their service in that capacity. Among them:
Procedure 13.100 (Field Training Officer Program) requires that District Commanders select FTOs with the advice and guidance of the Training Section staff, and it requires District Commanders to consider a wide range of traits and abilities when making FTO appointments.
Each FTO receives special training and certification.
The Training Section staff meets regularly with active FTOs in each District to share information and insights regarding specific PPOs, and to identify weaknesses that should be addressed in the coming training period. As each PPO's progress is discussed at these meetings, any shortcomings attributable to an FTO quickly become apparent.
Procedure 13.100 requires FTO Sergeants to meet at least weekly with the FTOs and PPOs on their shifts to identify and address needs, and to measure progress. These meetings are separately documented, and the District Commander must review and approve the meeting report.
Procedure 13.100 requires each shift Lieutenant to meet weekly with the FTO Sergeant, FTOs and PPOs on the shift to identify and address needs, and to measure progress. These meetings are separately documented and the District Commander must review and approve the meeting report.
Procedure 13.100 requires Lieutenants to meet with the District Commander monthly to discuss and evaluate FTO/PPO issues within the District.
Procedure 13.100 requires each FTO Sergeant to ride with the PPOs and document their performance. This gives the PPO an opportunity to privately discuss the FTO process with a supervisor, if necessary.
Finally, CPD districts and shifts are small enough that supervisors do not lose sight of which FTOs are performing well, and which are not.
88. The CPD should institute a curriculum review or curriculum development unit within the Training Section.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD currently utilizes a Training Advisory Committee that includes five CPD personnel (various ranks, sworn and civilian), five criminal justice professionals (e.g., UC Professor John Eck, Xavier Professor Gene Beaupre and a representative from Talbert House) and five community members (e.g. the Evanston Community Council President). The Committee meets quarterly to discuss training issues and requirements, and the Committee's recommendations are forwarded through the chain-of-command for consideration.
The Training Section has formed a Training Curriculum Committee that includes civilians, sworn personnel from a cross-section of ranks and a senior attorney from the Solicitor's Office. This committee meets bi-monthly to recommend and review new training curricula. This committee works with the CPD's Curriculum Supervisor, Mr. Barry Webb, who develops training curricula on a full-time basis.
89. The CPD should create an audit committee to ensure that mandated objectives and approved lesson plans are taught, and that what is being taught at the Training Academy comports with CPD policy.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. Training Section supervisors will continue to sit in on training classes on a random basis to ensure that mandated objectives and approved lesson plans are taught, and that what is being taught at the Training Academy comports with CPD policy. An attorney from the Solicitor's Office also will sit in on these classes on a random basis.
90. The CPD should have more exposure to the policies, practices, and procedures of other police departments.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. However, its ability to implement the recommendation is limited by financial resources.
During the year 2000, the CPD expended significant resources to send sworn and non-sworn personnel to training programs outside Cincinnati. Each year the CPD sends a Lieutenant or Captain to the FBI National Academy, where they spend three months in an academic environment with approximately 250 law enforcement peers from across the globe. The CPD also sends two or three Captains and Lieutenants to the Southern Police Institute, where they spend three months in an academic environment with approximately 50 law enforcement peers from across the United States. The CPD recently has begun to send a Lieutenant or Captain to the Northwest Institute School of Police Staff and Command. This, too, is a three month academic program attended by law enforcement peers from across the United States.
In addition to the foregoing, the CPD's Planning Section frequently shares information and ideas with law enforcement agencies across the country.
91. The CPD could ask outside agencies to review and evaluate its policies and procedures.
The CPD agrees with this recommendation. The CPD has been reviewed, evaluated and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) since 1997, and its accreditation was renewed in 2001. As part of the accreditation process, CALEA performed a comprehensive assessment of CPD policies and procedures, and conducted on-site inspections,interviews and ride-alongs to ensure compliance with those policies and procedures. The assessment was led by three middle-to high-ranking police officers based at least one state away from Ohio. In addition, the OPOTA reviews the CPD's training program annually, and its canine procedures every two years.
Again we appreciate the time and effort you and your staff have devoted to reviewing the CPD's policies and practices. The City certainly is open to receiving any additional resources and technical assistance you deem appropriate. As Chief Streicher has assured you, the CPD is committed to continuous improvement. We look forward to meeting with you soon to reach a productive and expeditious conclusion to this matter.
William R. Martin
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