Saturday, June 01, 2002

143 want on police panel

Luken to pick 7 to hear complaints

By Gregory Korte,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Among the 143 applicants to Cincinnati's new Citizen Complaint Authority are college students, retirees, lawyers and law professors, a mathematician, community activists and a former police chief.

        From this stack of resumes, Mayor Charlie Luken must select seven residents to serve on the city's new police watchdog agency.

        The new panel will combine two existing agencies that have complained of a lack of staff and resources: the Citizens Police Review Panel and the Office of Municipal Investigation.

        Only two members of the current review panel applied for positions on the new board. They are Nancy Minson, a mental health professional, and Walter Bowers II, a Clifton physician.

        Mr. Luken, who had earlier worried that applications for the panel were slow to come in, said he was impressed by the the number — and the quality — of applicants.

        “The difficult part is now going to be selecting the seven to serve on the CCA,” he said in a statement.

        Finalists must submit to a background check. Mr. Luken will review the applications, interview finalists and nominate seven people to City Council by June 26. After that, the panelists will receive training in police procedures.

        Under a deadline imposed by the U.S. Justice Department and the settlement in a racial profiling lawsuit, the panel must be in place by Aug. 9.

        Mr. Luken said he's looking for a diverse panel with “balance, fairness and good judgment.”

        There's certainly no shortage of support for police in the applicant pool. Wilbur E. Klosterman is the former police chief of Elmwood Place. Chuck Klein, a private investigator and a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Ohio's concealed weapons law, is a former police officer. And Melva Gweyn and Mary Kuhl, the founders of Westwood Concern, are unabashedly pro-police.

        And then there's one applicant with seemingly unique credentials: Christo Lassiter, one of two professors of law at the University of Cincinnati to apply, once wrote a scholarly article on the effectiveness of police review panels.


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