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Police oversight board completed 70% more investigations last year

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati’s independent police oversight board completed nearly 77 investigations into officer misconduct last year. That’s over 70% more than the year before, as the Citizen Complaint Authority tries to get through a huge backlog in cases.

CCA Director Gabe Davis released the 2021 Annual Report this week and presented the results at Monday's board meeting. He says complaints have gone down significantly since the board began in 2003 as part of the historic Collaborative Agreement.

"I think that that shows that this is working; it shows that we have made great progress here in our city," Davis said. "I think it's a credit to our police force and credit to the reforms enacted under the Collaborative. But it's also credit to CCA and the hard work we've done."

Despite the decrease over the last two decades, the number of complaints in 2021 increased 16% from the year before.

The investigations completed last year included more than 400 allegations against about 300 officers. The CCA decided an officer acted improperly for about 16% of allegations. The rest were exonerated, not sustained, or unfounded.

The top three allegations were excessive force, improper stop, and improper search. The top three allegations sustained by the CCA were improper procedure or procedure violation (50%), discourtesy, and improper search.

The percentage of allegations sustained (meaning the officer acted improperly) was 26% in 2020, but averaged 15% the five years before that.

Davis says the numbers show the majority of CPD officers follow the law and department policies.

"What that shows, in my view, is that policy matters. I think it shows that the laws matter," Davis said. "I think it underscores the importance of the complaint prevention work that we do, and other recommendations work that we do."

Over the last year and a half the CCA has made 26 recommendations to change CPD policy. So far, the department has agreed at least in part with half of those.

Iris Roley of the Black United Front says a full recommendations report should be available by now.

"I am the consultant to the city of Cincinnati on the collaborative agreement and this refresh, and I'm not satisfied that we do not have — and I work through the city manager's office — that we do not have these recommendations yet so that we can track them," Roley said.

The first “patterns and recommendations” report was published last year.

Davis says the next annual report should be available by late September.

See the full 2021 Annual Report below:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.