Saturday, April 13, 2002

Final version lost some of its oomph

Settlement's most controversial ideas cut in negotiations

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The agreement signed Friday by Cincinnati and the U.S. Department of Justice is vastly different than the original 23-page list of federal recommendations issued in October.

        Some of the most dramatic suggestions were cut out during negotiations since then, and many of the other things Cincinnati “ensures” it will do are already in place.

        S. Gregory Baker, the former acting safety director who now will oversee city compliance of both the Justice and racial-profiling lawsuit mediation agreements, said he thinks combining the two led the government to ease up on some issues.

        “They were willing to let the local process set the standards on some things,” he said. “I think we got the best deal possible.”
       These Justice suggestions were cut:

        • Police dogs must find and bark, but not bite.

        • Officers must report when they point their guns at someone.

        • Canisters of chemical irritant must be weighed to track how much officers use.

        • The department should switch to pepper spray.

        • Uses of force should be reported on a single form.

        • The department should adopt a use-of-force continuum.

        • The CPD should have its own separate technology budget.

        • Department supervisors should get out more and see how other departments work.
       What will be new:

        • Officers must report when they force someone to the ground.

        • Use-of-force terms: “escorting” (meaning the use of light pressure to guide a suspect); “hard hands” (to describe an officer's physical pressure that forces a person against an object or leaves a mark), and “actively resisting” (to describe a suspect who is making “physically evasive movements,” such as pushing, bracing or verbally signaling an intent to avoid being taken into custody).

        • What's taught in the academy about foot pursuits, including that the officer consider location, lighting and other factors before running after someone, will be written into policy.

        • Choke holds are prohibited, except in situations that call for excessive force.

        • Canine supervisors will keep track of how often their dogs bite.

        • Officers will get more, but yet unspecified, training in, among other things: use of dogs and how much chemical irritant to spray.

        • The Internal Investigations Section (IIS) will now review all complaints of gun-pointing, improper searches and seizures, and discrimination.

        • A computerized Risk Management System database that will centralize all officer behavior records. A request for proposals to do this must be ready in 90 days;

        • All allegations of misconduct filed with outside agencies, including the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, must be sent to IIS within five days.


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