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Police Union Members Meet Their Interim Chief

Bill Rinehart

Members of the local police union seem to be happy with their new leader.

The Cincinnati chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police was supposed to have a vote Monday night on whether they supported the chief.  That vote was rendered moot after the firing of Jeffery Blackwell last week.

FOP president Kathy Harrell says the union couldn't take a confidence vote on the interim chief, Eliot Isaac.

“We don’t get involved in a confidence vote because we’re going to have possibly numerous members of our organization put in for that chief’s position," says Harrell. 

“Right now Chief Isaac is in a place where we want him.  We want an internal chief,” Harrell says.  “Assistant Chief Dave Bailey has made it very clear that he doesn’t know if he’s going to be around long enough.  But he stood at the meeting tonight and said ‘I support Chief Isaac 100 percent.’”

Speaking as an officer and not as the FOP president, Harrell says she'd love to see Isaac hired for the job permanently.

She says Eliot Isaac was received well, partly because he's a 27-year veteran of the department and knows the officers and what they're facing.

“I think these officers truly believe that they are going to be listened to.  I think these captains understand that Chief Isaac, Assistant Chief (Dave) Bailey, and Assistant Chief (Doug) Wiesman are going to give them the resources that they need to go out there and make an impact, continue to do what we’ve always done, which is problem solving, interacting with our community.  But now to be able to do it with more officers.  And it’ll be done in a safer manner,” she says.

Harrell says no one in the department wanted Jeffery Blackwell to fail.  She says if a chief is successful, the department will be as well. 

Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
Interim Chief Isaac says he's a different person than Jeffery Blackwell but says they share a passion for the community.

Isaac is a veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department and says that has helped with his transition to interim chief.  He says he's worked with his fellow officers and knows what they want.  But he's not sure if he wants the job for good.

“When that time comes, we’ll definitely explore it.  I shared with them from where I sit, it doesn’t matter if I’m in the first chair or the second chair. I just want to help this department move forward and help this be the best department in the country that I know that it is,” Isaac said after speaking to FOP members.

City Manager Harry Black says the job will be posted in-house and on several job boards but the city will not hire an executive search firm.  He says there are a few things that need to be cleared up first.

“We don’t want it to take too long because we’ve got to make some other personnel moves related to the chief’s move, but we want to do the chief first and then we can take care of the assistant chiefs,” Black says.

The department has three assistant chiefs right now but Black says that could change.

He expects the job posting for the chief's position to go up within a couple of weeks.