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UC To Hire Police Department Monitor

The University of Cincinnati's Board of Trustees has approved hiring an outside monitor for three years to help oversee its police department. Public Safety officials met with community leaders Wednesday morning to lay out changes that have been made in the wake of the shooting death of Sam DuBose by a now former UC police officer such as scaling back off-campus policing to only include non-abrasive tactics and less aggressive strategies.

More details on the monitor's role and who will be hired are expected in the coming weeks.

Community members asked about the new off-campus policing plan, UCPD's diversity, supervisory procedures, and the university's role in the upcoming trial of former officer Ray Tensing.

Vice President for Safety and Reform Robin Engel says arrest and citation numbers for Jan. 1 - Jul. 31 are down 69 percent and 95 percent from the same period one year ago. She says the university can continue to help reduce crime and keep students safe in the areas around campus using better tactics and strategies than it has in the past.

University police still patrol off-campus but do not engage in traffic stops per a Cincinnati City Council order. Public Safety Director James Whalen says UC is taking a service oriented posture to off-campus policing. Engle says UC has about 13,000 students living in a half mile to mile radius of the main and medical campuses.

Victoria Straughn is a community activist and a UC employee. She says she's very concerned about UC's role in patrolling the surrounding community. "What does reform look like? Will it be a toothless tiger?," she asks. "I have a vested interested in this place as my employer and that they do a good job and that reform does reflect what the community wants."

Straughn says UC is making genuine reforms and is reaching out to the community and people like her to "say 'this is what reform looks like. We want your input. How can we make the changes that we need to make so we can do a better job at what we're doing?"

The resolution passed Tuesday by Trustees lays out a safety and reform agenda based on six principles outlined by a Community Advisory Council. They are: transparency, legitimacy, accountability, fairness, collaboration, and innovation.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.