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Report: Former UCPD Chief Pushed For More Off-Campus Traffic Stops

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Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU

A former University of Cincinnati police chief ordered more aggressive off-campus traffic patrols and allegedly denied that move after an unarmed motorist was shot and killed during a traffic stop.  That's the initial finding of a company hired to review the department's practices.

The Exiger report says former chief Jason Goodrich claimed not to know why off-campus traffic stops rose by nearly 400 percent between December 2014, when he started in the position, and July 2015. He initially told interviewers he was not aware that officers were performing off-campus traffic stops. He later told them he'd misunderstood their question. The report quotes Goodrich as saying, "he of  course knew that officers were performing off-campus traffic stops. He had been speaking about the subset of officers who were "clearly off mission" and "fishing for stuff," as being that which he did not know."

Assistant Chief, Major Tim Thornton gave similar responses.

But internal departmental communications and interviews with officers indicated Goodrich embraced the tactic and promoted it within the department.

The Exiger report says his denial led to officers losing confidence in leadership. It also says even with a misunderstanding, "such a sustained failure to communicate in so many contexts, to so many different stakeholders, calls into question Chief Goodrich's ability to perform his job effectively."

The report says if Goodrich and Thornton were unaware of the increase in traffic stops, it "implicates basic failures of both… to gather information, assess risk, and exercise managerial oversight."

The University of Cincinnati hired Exiger after Samuel DuBose was shot and killed during an off-campus traffic stop July 19. Former officer Ray Tensing was fired from the department and is facing a murder charge.

Goodrich and Thornton resigned February 26, the day of a final interview with Exiger.

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.