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Collaborative Agreement Refreshes Goals For 2019

2001 cincinnati riots
Tom Uhlman
Cincinnati Police in riot gear stand gaurd as firefighters put out a fire started in Over-the-Rhine, Tuesday, April 10, 2001, following protests over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man turned violent.

The man in charge of Cincinnati's collaborative agreement refresh is detailing 2019 goals as the city considers how to work toward bias-free policing.

Collaborative Refresh Sustainability Manager Jason Cooper told Council's Law and Public Safety Committee Monday he will focus on three areas this year. "We're really looking at our analysis and evaluation capacity," he says. "We're looking at education training and engagement and revisiting our CPOP (Community Problem Oriented Policing)."

The collaborative agreement was negotiated in 2002 and put in place following the civil unrest in 2001 after a white Cincinnati police officer, Stephen Roach, shot and killed Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old unarmed African American.

Court-enforced federal monitoring of the agreement ended in 2008. Since then, it has been used as a guide to continue improving police-community relations.

In 2017, the city announced it would update the agreement.

Chair of council's Law and Public Safety Committee Christopher Smitherman says there's no doubt a refresh is needed. "We clearly have work that we need to do because we have officers still using the N-word, right? Whether they are African American, or whether they are white officers or Latino officers, male or female -just trying to make sure I'm covering the whole gamut - that we know that behavior isn't good."

Smitherman says depending on how good of a job Cincinnati does it will "separate us from other municipalities so that when we do have a problem we can stand together."

Cooper says the city is partnering with the University of Cincinnati when it comes to data collection and analysis. He says the goal is bias-free policing.

Cooper is scheduled to report to council again in May.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.