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City Manager Says He Supports Chief's Plan to Curb Violence

Courtesy WCPO

Cincinnati's City manager, police chief and other officials are releasing the plan at a news conference at 10:00 this morning.

From the release:

Cincinnati, OH - Today, Mayor John Cranley, City Manager Harry S. Black, and Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell stood alongside community members to unveil the Police Department’s Summer Safety Initiative Plan which includes personnel redeployment, community and youth outreach initiatives, and enhanced C.I.R.V capacity. City Manager Harry Black is fully supportive of the plan and officers commenting that "we are not sitting on our hands waiting to take action. The Chief and his command staff deserve credit for their quick work in putting this together. This is a solid plan and does not represent a radical departure from how we have come to know policing in Cincinnati. It builds upon our principles of strong community partnership and using data to strategically target and inform our efforts. As a City, we are in this together. We will not rest in our efforts to reduce all kinds of crime.” The 90-day crime reduction plan incorporates initiatives to accomplish five overarching goals: reduce shootings citywide; hold overall violent crime including homicides, rapes, robberies, and shootings to a 10% reduction over the past three years; institute youth curfew program for youth under the age of 17 with designated Curfew Enforcement Centers; assist the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Parks by providing safe play environments during the summer months; provide greater human assets throughout the summer to not only focus on shootings and violent crime, but also to enhance district staffing levels that provide for overall better service and call response times city-wide; and Enhance C.I.R.V. capacity to reduce gang and G.M.I. violence. “The current upswing in shootings is disturbing and unacceptable. The city manager, police chief and I take this problem very seriously and we’re using every means at our disposal to deal with this problem,” said Mayor John Cranley. “I am hopeful this plan will reverse the trend. If it doesn’t, however, we will regroup and try something else. One way or another, we plan to reduce the number of shootings.” The community and faith leaders provided solutions during a series of community listening sessions. “The disturbing rise in shootings has required us to retool and recalibrate strategic enforcement efforts. The Summer Safety Plan is a collaborative and holistic blueprint to not only reverse the uptick in shootings, but provide other opportunities to engage with our communities, particularly our youth,” said Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. “What we heard from the community was their desire to have an approach which incorporated enforcement strategies along with community engagement strategies which we were able to accomplish” In an effort to address the recent spike in shootings and to plan for summer enforcement strategies, the plan includes the following strategies: Youth Services personnel along with Quality of Life Enhancement Team (QLET) officers will be combined and address the Parks and Playgrounds on the 5 districts to provide for safer environment for young people in the community. This will add 28 officers and 3 sergeants to the districts which are 6 personnel per district maximum and generally 4 personnel (2 teams of 2) daily to account for personnel managing the myriad of youth programs including CITI Camp, Cadet Program and others. Comprehensive plan is attached. The Patrol Plan for the districts will be accomplished by changing all 5 districts to a “two off day group option”. This change in off days will be for the period from June 21 through August 16, 2015 (two work periods). While the plan will redeploy officers, the plan will maintain strength at or exceeding the current staffing on five or the seven days. The alternating “Heavy Day” deployment schedule will add between 24 to 27 officers per shift or approximately 75 officers in total. No overtime issues, officers work their normal hours. This surge in staffing will be augmented on Friday and Saturday nights by Traffic personnel assigned to the districts. Benefits of the two off-day deployment; Continued operational concerns. No drop off in police services; Homicides Rapes Accidents, etc. No exigent overtime expenses QLET, SRO’s, CLO’s, NLU in districts as well Two Juvenile Curfew Centers will be established. One at Church of the Living God, 434 Forest Avenue, Pastor Ennis Tait and the other at First Baptist Church of Cumminsville, 6045 Tahiti Drive, Pastor George Southerland on District 4 and 5. The Curfew Centers will be staffed by Clergy, Citizens on Patrol and 3 officers each supplied by third relief supervisors. The hours will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. District Captains will be required to work 2 evenings per week. Additionally, each district Captain is required to assign 4 officers (2 teams of 2) to walking patrols in identified hotspots on 2nd and 3rd relief for a minimum of 4-hour tours. The Gang Unit will work closely with District VCS teams to focus on group and gang crime with an emphasis on gun reduction efforts. Every gun arrest will be de-briefed and referred to ATF for follow-through where appropriate. District Captains will meet every morning to discuss operational strategies. Citizens on Patrol will be asked to assist enforcement/watch efforts on each district at least 4 days per week. Specifically for curfew watch. The Chief’s office personnel will be in uniform and assist walking patrol efforts 3 nights per week in Hot Spots or identified gathering locations. National Night Out concept to be followed in the formulation of “Cincinnati Night Out” which will be community cook-outs/festivals/peace rallies to be held June 24 and July 22 followed by the official National Night Out on August 4, 2015.

WVXU's Bill Rinehart is at the news conference and will update this story shortly.