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Cincy's new police chief talks having more officers on patrol, more women on the force and boosting morale

Newly-selected Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge at a press conference formally announcing her new job.
Becca Costello
Newly-selected Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge at a press conference formally announcing her new job.

New Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge says reallocating personnel is one way she hopes to relieve stress on officers in the understaffed department.

"We're going to dig down deep in the department, find out where all the bodies are assigned, find out where some duplication of work is being done, and try to diminish that duplication," Theetge told WVXU. "And at the end of it, hopefully it reaps additional bodies to put out on patrol. The uniformed officers that are answering the first line calls for service, they need to be shored up first and foremost."

Theetge was named permanent police chief last week after serving as interim chief for 10 months.

She’s the first woman to lead the department, and says she hopes that will help with CPD's 30 by 30 initiative, which aims to have women in 30% of sworn ranks by 2030.

"And it's not just about hiring them, it's about retaining them and promoting them," Theetge said. "It might be something as simple as training because they were hesitant to put in for an assignment because they didn't know if they could do it. Well, let me offer you some training, that'll build your confidence."

Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge and Sheriff.jpg
Becca Costello
Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge and Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey.

The search for a new chief involved more resident participation than ever before, and Theetge says that will continue.

"I'm looking for ways to engage with the community that allows them not to just see us and see what we do, but then to turn around and kind of advise us and say, 'Hey, as a community member, I'd like to see if the police can do this,' or 'I'd like to see you work on this,' " she said.

The Citizens Police Academy is returning in March; the program was discontinued shortly before the pandemic due to a lack of interest.

Theetge says another top priority is officer morale and wellbeing.

"I had a ton of support during this [hiring] process, but I kept hearing about low morale," she said. "So now I need to go back and say, OK, morale is low, why is it low? How can we fix it? And then when we try to fix it, we need to come back and say, did it work? Is the morale coming up? Or is there still something we need to reevaluate and we do to try to improve the morale?"

City Manager Sheryl Long formally introduced Theetge as the next police chief in a press conference Tuesday morning.

"[Theetge] is an example of working your way up and through an organization and it paying off," Long said. "Officers, there is nothing she can ask you to do that she has not done herself. She has proven herself to be a fair, equitable, reliable and thoughtful leader who is prepared to address the issues facing please both our city and police department."

Iris Roley, leader of the Cincinnati Black United Front, says she's satisfied with the transparency of the hiring process — something she pushed for early on.

"To see the level of questions, how many questions, from our surveys that the Black United Front had done, to the city putting the candidates in front of council people, putting the hiring firm in front of community people, and then to crescendo that with those two community forums, I thought was really amazing, really transparent," Roley said.

Roley served on the hiring committee for the new chief. She says the work of accountability doesn't stop just because someone has been selected.

"The Black United Front's role has been and will continue to be on all provisions of the collaborative agreement, holding people accountable and moving those measures forward no matter who the chief is, no matter who the city manager is, no matter who they mayor is or who the elected officials are."

Here's WVXU's Becca Costello's full interview with Police Chief Teresa Theetge.

Give a short introduction of yourself to the city of Cincinnati for folks who maybe have not heard your name before.

So I'm Terry Theetge. I know formally people introduce me as Teresa Theetge. I'm Terry Theetge, and I'm currently the interim police chief, I've been in this role for 10 months. I'm in my 33rd year of law enforcement with the Cincinnati Police Department, super proud of that, I wouldn't change a day of 33 years. I've enjoyed every single moment of it. As you know, born and raised in Cincinnati. My roots are here, my history is here. I have a long family tradition in law enforcement in this city and county. I'm from a family of eight siblings, five of us in law enforcement, four with Cincinnati, one with Hamilton County Sheriff's. We're now on our third generation - because my father was also a police captain with Cincinnati - we're on our third generation of law enforcement, I have a son who works for the Boone County Sheriff's and I have a nephew who is a sergeant with us here in Cincinnati as well.

Is there a way that you can distill your general philosophy of policing and how that will affect the decisions you're going to make as the new permanent chief of the department?

So I think one of the biggest things is we need to recognize we truly are public servants. That's what we got into this career path for to serve the public in the city of Cincinnati. Everything we do should benefit the communities in the city of Cincinnati. And yeah, you know, we're always looking to make sure that our officers have the right tools, working conditions, all of that to the best of our abilities, because we want them when they go out to patrol the streets or do whatever job function they have for the police department. We want them to truly recognize they're doing it for the citizens. But we're trying to create an environment within the department that they enjoy what they're doing and want to continue to do it for an extended period of time.

That has been somewhat difficult the last couple of years, you know, creating that environment that officers are wanting to enter the profession and stay in the profession, for lots of reasons that we've talked about a lot. One of those I think is is mental health. You know, when the department is short staffed, as you say it is, it can be an extra strain on officer mental health and just general well being. So how will you address that going forward? Obviously, you've been in this role for a few months already. But what is on the horizon for kind of changes in addressing mental health and wellness?

This is probably one of my favorite topics to speak on when it comes to law enforcement is officer wellness. And a couple of years ago, we started dipping our toe in the officer wellness arena. and it has just blossomed. What we can do for our officers today that we couldn't do a couple of years ago is just amazing. I really credit a lot of that to our officer wellness coordinator, Miss Tiphanie Galvez. She took the initiative to start doing a little work around this topic a couple of years ago, while doing her other function for the police department. And then she was starting to make some headways and had some ideas that were going to be a little bit more time consuming. And so we were able to find a position she does this full time now. And what she has offered to the officers as far as resources and some other things is just amazing to me in the short period of time. And I think one of my biggest gauges to look at this through is we recently through the wellness unit we were able to help three officers who probably would not have sought out help had we not had an officer wellness unit. And the way I know that those three in particular have been successful is because each of those officers have stepped up and said, I kind of want to be the poster child for this, I want to talk to other officers about how it's okay to get help, it's okay to reach out. And for an officer to step forward and say that means they've had a successful encounter with our wellness unit. So kudos to them, absolute kudos to those officers for reaching out and getting help.

Can you give an example of some of the resources that are available through that officer wellness unit? What are the kinds of things that officers are most likely to struggle with and can now get help for?

So I think one of the biggest resources for them is our Cordico app, it's an officer wellness app. You can download it on your phone, and anytime, day or night, 24/7, if an officer wants to think about, you know, talking to say, a psychologist, or maybe somebody in alcohol area, this app gives them the ability to do that completely confidentially. And that's the key to Officer wellness is you've got to maintain confidentiality. So when I talk about Ms. Galvez, most of what she does, doesn't even come to my attention. So because that confidentiality between her and the officers is critical for the success of the program critical for the success of the officers wellness. And so the Cordico app is extremely important. Miss Galvez, she is a natural at finding things kind of different. She's got that equine therapy for officers, she has some programs with some psychologists and therapists here in this region that have now because of her efforts have now built out therapy sessions for first responders only. Because it's one thing for an officer to ask for help in the mental health mental health area. It's another thing for them to go get the help and be in a say a therapy session or some type of an environment with other individuals who are not first responders. So the fact that she was able to build a program that is for first responders only, is is really, really critical for them being comfortable and getting help.

I think mental health challenges and resources are something that will always be necessary for police departments and other public safety officers just because of the nature of the job. But one of the things that has been difficult, and I think hopefully would not be a problem forever, is just officer morale based on other conditions like being short staffed. As you're coming into this role with a lot of challenges that are kind of outside your control, like the budget, for example, how can you address morale and also track progress on how that's going? 

I think the biggest way to track the progress is communication. Gotta keep communicating with them. And through this selection process, the one thing that I heard loud and clear, and I need to focus on is Officer morale, particularly around staffing shortages. When it comes to their morale, there are things I can do for them to help improve their morale. And there's some things that I might not be able to do so we need to figure out a workaround for those. But you know, it's kind of like somebody who runs for an election and you might get 60% of the vote. Why didn't I get the other 40? What what am I lacking here? So that's kind of me now is okay, I had a ton of support during this process, but I kept hearing about low morale. So now I need to go back and say, okay, morale is low, why is it low? How can we fix it? And then when we try to fix it, we need to come back and say, did it work? Is the morale coming up? Or is there still something we need to reevaluate and we do to try to improve the morale? So I really need to talk to the cops.

On the staffing shortage, can you give us just a quick update on the the current class of officers, the recruit class, and any changes that might be on the horizon for the upcoming recruit class?

So our recruit class that's in session now started in August and they will graduate February 17. I think we have like 34 that will graduate. We also have one in there that's a UC Police Department employee that we have trained for UC. And so unfortunately, those are the numbers that we're dealing with right now. We were authorized for a class of 50. And when we have a very rigorous background and hiring process because it then turns out the highest standard of officers. So we need to stay in alignment with those those background processes. And so what we find is we have fewer people signing up for the test, we have fewer people who are passing all of the steps in the process. And then once we offer them a job, that's when we are legally allowed to have them do medical and psychological evaluations. So sometimes, a candidate or two might not pass those. And by then it's time for the class to start. And so we are at the numbers that we are at. We just gave another test in November for a May 2023 class to start. Hopefully we will end up with a full class of 50. And one of the things we have going in to that class that we didn't have with his current class, is we upped the hourly rate for the recruits during the recruit time, so that's good. We also have a signing bonus and incentive for those. And then also an opportunity, if they had prior law enforcement experience, there's an additional bonus for them. So every little bit helps. You know, the climate across this country is it's very difficult to get people to want to sign up for a career in law enforcement. And so we're just gonn keep chipping away at it. These are some steps for this class, and then we'll find out what what else might work that we can implement for future testing of future classes.

Taking a little bit of a step back and looking more broadly, again, you've been the interim chief for about 10 months so it's not an entirely new job for you. Can the public expect to see anything different going forward now that you have the permanent job? Have there been things that you've been waiting to implement because you weren't sure if you'd be here in the long term?

Sure. So one of the first things I'm going to do with the assistance of the command staff is we're going to look at reallocation of personnel. So we're going to dig down deep in the department, find out where all the bodies are assigned, a find out where some duplication of work is being done, and try to diminish that duplication. And at the end of it, hopefully it reaps additional bodies to put out on patroll. The uniformed officers that are answering the first line calls for service, they need to be shored up first and foremost. And so hopefully, the community will see additional bodies in uniform out on the streets. Other than that, I think a lot of things will stay status quo, because we're really good at a lot of stuff and so we're just going to keep that momentum going. But the other piece is, I would like to increase my personal connection with communities. You know, it's one thing to have the officers out there, they do a phenomenal job in the communities, our neighborhood liaison officers and sergeants. But now that I know I'm going to be here a little while longer, they need to see me, they need to see me as the face of the department. And so that will be one of the first things, that communities need to see more of me, the officers need to see more of me. And so that's going to be one of my first agenda items is just to get out there more.

And on that community piece, that was one of the things you said when it was announced that you got the job as Chief - there was a lot of community engagement, more than typically has happened in the past for this process in Cincinnati, during the selection process for Chief, and you've said that's not going to stop. What will that look like for the public, how will the public see that in effect?

So there's many opportunities here for that. Something as simple as, we're bringing back our citizens police academy. So on March 1, we're going to start the next citizens police academy. We didn't have it during COVID, obviously. And then we even ended it a little bit before COVID because interest dropped in it. So you have to have a certain number to make it financially a good decision to host one of those. But what that does is that gives us an opportunity to hear from community people. They come in, they learn what it is for us to do our job, and then when they have that level of knowledge, then they can hopefully weigh in on say, Hey, you taught me that officers handle this particular incident this way. Have you ever thought about doing it this way? You know, maybe it's somebody with a mental health crisis, maybe it's something else. So I'm looking for ways to engage with the community that allows them not to just see us and see what we do, but then to turn around and kind of advise us and say, Hey, as a community member, I'd like to see if the police can do this or I'd like to see you work on this and just be open to those constant back and forth dialogues.

What are your thoughts on the relevance and the importance of the collaborative agreement, and whether it still matters and is important to policing today?

So I actually, before sitting down with you, I was addressing a leadership Cincinnati class and this topic came up. And we are so unbelievably fortunate to have the collaborative agreement here in Cincinnati. I just had its 20th anniversary - that speaks volumes, that it's still here after 20 years. If it didn't work, it wouldn't still be here. It works and that's why it's still in effect. And I think what it tells us is -- early in my career, when a citizen called the police, they called us because they wanted us to come solve their problem. And that's what we did. We didn't ask them how they wanted it solved. We just came in and solved it for him. What the Collaborative has done has, it's a paradigm shift for us. Now, when somebody calls, we're gonna listen to what is your problem? How can we help you solve it? It could be something simple, it could be something major, but we still have to approach it from that perspective, how can we help you solve your problem? But also, as part of that collaborative agreement is the community's commitment to saying, I want to help you solve my problem. Police, you don't have to do it all on your own. And so here's how I can help. I think a lot of what we do nowadays, I would say a huge percentage of what we do nowadays, we do it because it's outlined in the collaborative. But what's really kind of cool now is when the collaborative first came into effect, and like I said, it was a paradigm shift for us, we had to kind of retrain our officers on how we're going to police in the city. Now, a large percentage of our officers have been hired after the collaborative agreement. So it's the only way they know how to police which is good. This is their culture of policing now. I think we have some recruits in the class right now that weren't even born when the collaborative first came into existence. So yeah, talk about a shift, you know that this is their way of life. This is how they know how to police.

During one of the public forums, all of the finalists were asked about systemic racism, you praise some of the current training at CPD. But you did also acknowledge some of the recent problems, especially a few officers being caught using racial slurs on duty. The department and the city manager's office has addressed that in changing the policy and even firing one officer. But looking at that issue of racism more broadly in the department, do you believe that the police department has racist policies and procedures? And if so how do you plan to address that?

Well, that's a very unique question. I will say, I've never been asked it from that perspective. I think what we try to do every single day-- we have a planning section here, they look at and write all of our policies and procedures for approval. And they look at it through the lens of bias free policing: what are we doing? How are we doing it? And is it bias free? You know, everybody, I think knows, we several years now have switched to a very data driven organization. And if you're looking at the data, and you act upon the data, the bias should be taken out of it, by doing it that way. And so I think as long as we stay on those paths, and training, like you said, I'd mentioned that at the public forum, stay on the training to make sure officers recognize they could have bias. As long as it's it's not affecting the way they do their job. I think every human being on this earth has some sort of bias, we will never be 100% bias free. But we have to make sure that we are turning out law enforcement officers that take bias out of conducting their police work. So that's not exactly the answer to the question you asked. But I would say that, because of the work in our planning section, the work product that they turn out each and every time we revise a procedure, they look at it through the lens of making sure we are policing as bias free atmosphere as we possibly can.

The Citizen Complaint Authority was established as part of the collaborative agreement that we've discussed. It does issue recommendations for policy changes. And from what I've heard from the CCA, there's been some big improvements on communication between CPD and CCA in the recent past, but historically there hasn't always been a great relationship and many of those policy recommendations were ignored for a long time. Can you talk about that relationship with the CCA? Are there policy changes that you think might happen over the next year or so just based on that partnership? 

Yeah, absolutely. I'm actually very proud of our relationship with CCA. And let me give you a little historical background to that. When CCA came into existence, after the collaborative agreement, I was a lieutenant at the internal investigation section. So one of my roles was to establish the first relationship with CCA, between CCA and CPD. And so I got in on the ground floor of this relationship and I've seen it blossom from there. I did see, when I was on other assignments, I saw where it was going a little bit off the path that I had originally set it on, under former police chiefs. And so then I came back to internal [investigations] as a captain, trying to get back on track again. And I'm saying that-- we didn't veer far off track, but there was area for, room for improvement. And so we got it back on track. And then after the civil unrest [in 2020], it was brought to our attention that CCA's recommendations -- I think they said back from 2015 to 2020, after the unrest -- that recommendations had been brought to us and we didn't respond to them. So I'm super thrilled to be able to say when that was brought to light, under Chief Isaac's guidance, I sat down and went through every single recommendation from 2015 to the current time, which was in 2020. And we responded to every one of them. Yes, it was late. It was late, it wasn't very timely, but we got it done. That was a heavy lift. And we took some of the recommendations. And we didn't take some of the recommendations. And that's to be expected. But fast forward to today. What we do now is, I have a discussion every month with the CCA director and the city manager's office. And we talk about recommendations. Because sometimes CCA will issue a recommendation without fully understanding the impact to the department. So it's my job to say, Okay, here's your recommendation, here's how it would impact us, here's why we can do it, can't do it, can do part of it. So I think we have come a long way in having a process built out now, that makes sure we don't go back to what happened in '20. When somebody says you haven't addressed the recommendations in years. 

Let's look at some of the crime statistics compared to the three year average, which is a good way to look at that: violent crime is down, gun recoveries are up, property crimes are about the same as they have been for that three year average. What do you think has been successful in your time here in the police department to get some of those numbers down? But then also, everyone always says the numbers are still too high. So what more needs to be done to get those down?

Sure. So I'll take the first part of your question first. What have we done? We've done a lot of things. I think probably the most paramount is the creation of our Crime Gun Intelligence Center. People hear us refer to it as CGIC. Because the violent crimes, the shootings, are an absolute necessity to address. Absolutely, first and foremost, we need to address gun violence in this city, in this country. And so the CGIC allows us to do that. And you know, we talked a minute ago about biases. CGIC is 100% data driven, evidence based policing at its best. It takes the bias out of it. And so what they are able to do is follow a gun involved in a crime, trace it back to its roots, so to speak, in where was it sold? Who bought it? What other crimes has it been involved in. And when you start putting all of those pieces of the puzzle together, you start making good quality arrest. It's not about the quantity of arrest, it's about the quality of the rest, who are the worst of the worst, shooting people on the streets of Cincinnati. We need to get them off the streets. And what CGIC allows us to do is not only have all the technology that we need to do put those types of investigations together under one roof, but it also under that same roof. We have analysts for Cincinnati. We have an analyst from the ATF. We have officers and supervision from ATF working with us every day. We have a prosecutor from the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office with us. We have a prosecutor from the US Attorney's Office. They're all under one roof. So as they're putting these cases together, you can have an officer that goes to the federal prosecutor and says, you know, I have A, B and C evidence on this case. And the prosecutor might say, Okay, you go get me D, and we've got a good felony or a federal charge to put on this individual. So that collaboration is paramount to getting these good cases together, which is paramount to reducing gun violence. So that's one of the the things that I think we're doing that's working really, really well. You're right, you know, any amount of shootings is too many shootings, even if we saw a tremendous reduction, which is a win for us, we're still having shootings that we need to address. And so I think in that arena, the biggest thing we can do is ask for the community's help. We can't solve this problem all by ourselves, even with the most thorough of investigations, we need the communities to step up and say, not in my neighborhood, we won't tolerate it here, whatever that neighborhood is of the 52 in the city. We need them to get involved. We also have something I've not seen in a while in my career, is currently the way our city administration, our city leadership has set up city government: it's everybody's problem. So you know, we might be talking to the Health Department, how can you help the police? We might be talking to human relations at the city, how can you help the police with this problem? Early in my career, it was like, there's a problem going on in this neighborhood, police go in and clean it up and fix it. And that's just not, that's not good. It's not for the good for the police. It's not good for the community. It's not good for the city administration. So the fact now that we can wrap around all city departments services around a problem to resolve it is -- and then like I said, the community's input -- that's what we need to do when we have these issues and incidents to drive the violent crime back down.

How recent would you say that change has been?

I would say post pandemic, post civil unrest. You know, I would say the current city manager, Sheryl Long, when she was assistant city manager this was her approach. And it was refreshing to sit at a table representing the police department, to hear city leadership say to other departments, we need to help the police on this, we need to help them with this. It's just simply refreshing to know that we're not doing it all by ourselves anymore.

The only violent crime that is trending higher right now in Cincinnati is rape. And looking at the most recent 30 days compared to the three year average of the same time period, there's a 42% increase. That does seem significant. Obviously, it's just one data point and you do want to take kind of a longer look. But why do you think that number has gone up when other violent crime is trending down?

Boy, that's a tough one, that's a really tough one. Because rape is different types of incidents. So it could be a stranger rape, it could be a family sexual encounter that's classified as a rape. It could be many things. And so what our personal crimes unit is tasked with doing obviously, is investigating them, first and foremost. We also look at the data from the personal crimes perspective. But I would have to ponder whether or not since post pandemic, I think individuals behaviors as a whole have changed. You know, we talk about traffic-- people are just blatantly blowing traffic lights. I would have to wonder if some of this too is people who just think they can behave this way and get away with it. Kind of like I could shoot somebody and get away with it, I can rape somebody and get away with it. I can blow traffic violations and get away with it. And so it just becomes a matter of what is tolerable. What is society willing to tolerate anymore? And what are they not? And sometimes when a number goes up, a statistic goes up, it means people are more willing to come forward and report something and come to us because they trust us. They want somebody held accountable for this offense. So when a number goes up, I don't panic, because it means somebody is coming forward and telling us. This same number of rapes could have been occurring and the number was not going up. But what that tells me is something's going on and people aren't reporting it to the police. And that's not good.

You mentioned traffic; this administration has had, I think, a much stronger focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety than I've seen in recent years. And part of that is shown out in the numbers: fewer pedestrian crashes this year than any recent year on record. But again, with the shootings, any number is too high. Traffic enforcement went way down in 2020, which was to be expected because of the pandemic, but also, I think, because of some of that unrest and distrust between the community and police officers. And those numbers have not gone back to pre pandemic levels; Cincinnati police are not conducting as many traffic stops as they were before the pandemic. How does that play into this piece?

Sure. So while it's a completely different animal to deal with than gun violence, part of it is, too, the community saying, You're not going to continue to violate the traffic laws in our neighborhood. You know, we get emails and concerns all the time about, please come to do radar, the people are traveling too quick, too fast on my street, or Please come have an officer sit in the school zone, because they're not abiding by the school speed limits, or whatever it is. And so we have to listen to that those concerns. And we have to, with the resources that we have, address those concerns by deploying officers out there. We've had two traffic blitzes recently. Knock on wood, both of them have been huge successes, in that, I mean, we wrote citations for violations. I know some people won't consider that a success, especially maybe the person receiving the citation. But we've shown that we are out there, we're doing some proactive work. But a bigger success of that is the officers who we put on this task, enjoyed their time doing it, they want to do more of it. But even more than that is the encounters they had with the citizens that they stopped, were positive encounters. And by that, I mean, nobody wants to get a traffic ticket, but they treated the officer with respect, the officer treated them with respect. It was also a huge opportunity to do some education with individuals, you know, if somebody's driving without a license, maybe they got suspended because they didn't have insurance or whatever. Our officers can kind of tell them, Okay, you have to do this, this and this, and then you'll get your license reinstated, or you need to go here, and they will help you with whatever it is. So the traffic blitzes were extremely beneficial in that. You're right, it really dropped after the pandemic. And, you know, everybody around the country was trying to figure out, how can I possibly contract COVID and so they were minimizing interactions with individuals, and police were no different. But what it also did to us, and I really didn't think about this, until somebody recently had told me is, we had a whole brand new recruit class out during that time. And one of the things their field training officers teach them is traffic enforcement. And so because the field training officers weren't doing it, because of the pandemic, we had young, impressionable new officers who were never taught that. And so we needed to go back and say, traffic enforcement is part of your responsibility on this job. And let's get on out there doing some traffic enforcement. But let's get on with a veteran officer and get them out there doing traffic enforcement, because it's one thing to learn how to do it in the class,it's another thing to do it in practice out on the streets. And you mentioned something about the you know, the trust and all of that. It's no secret that a traffic stop is probably one of the most dangerous things an officer will do during the course of their day. And it could go well, it could turn ugly quickly, also. And I think what they needed to know and need to hear -- and I think they've heard it from this mayor, they've heard it from this manager, they've heard it from me -- is go out, do your work, as long as you're doing the right thing for the right reason, I will support you. So I know a traffic stop can be dangerous. If it turns ugly and you've relied on your training and you've relied on your morals in how you respond to that danger, I will support you.

I think it has to be noted that you're the first woman to lead the Cincinnati Police Department, and that's a pretty significant step for the city. How do you view that milestone?

Yeah. So first of all, as a personal goal, I've attained what I set out to do 33 years ago. People have heard me say when I was in the academy, they asked everybody, where do you see yourself in this career? And I said, I want to be the first female police chief; that was 33 years ago. And to attain that goal, personally, I'm so proud of myself. You know, I think it shows my family -- I have a daughter, I have daughter in law's, I have granddaughters -- that women can attain anything you work hard and strive to do. As you know, in September of 2021 we signed the 30 by 30 initiative, which is to hire, have 30% women in our sworn ranks by the year 2030. And it's not just about hiring them, it's about retaining them and promoting them. So I hope the women on this job, by seeing me and what I have attained, it wasn't easy. It was no walk in the park. I worked hard for 33 years, I worked very hard, but I've loved every minute of it. But as long as I can take my experiences, share with the women on this department, give them opportunities -- it might be something as simple as training because they were hesitant to put in for an assignment because they didn't know if they could do it. Well, let me offer you some training, that'll build your confidence. That way, when you walk in that room to apply for a job, you're confident that you'll get it. And then when you get the job, you're confident that you'll do it just as well as your male counterpart. And so I think that is very significant. I think for the city of Cincinnati, it shows that we are an evolving police department, we are an evolving city government. And what better way to show the evolution of that than by having a female police chief? We are the one city department maybe along with our fire brothers and sisters, that 24/7, people are going to call us and we're going to come and see them. And I think when they when they see that a woman could attain this within the Cincinnati Police Department, I think they'll say that's a good thing. That's that's an evolving city government for you.

Is there anything else that we haven't talked about yet that you think is important to address?

I think maybe the biggest thing is some of our stakeholders in this city. You know, we talked a little bit about gun violence and how to reduce it and things like that. I think what people need to realize whether you live here, whether you work here, whether you own a business here, small or large, it's all of our responsibilities to try to put our best foot forward to reduce gun violence. You know, one of the things I love about this city is its constant development. When I came on Over-the-Rhine was not the Over-the-Rhine we see today, so I've watched that develop over 30 years. The Banks was not anything like it is today. And so in order to keep that development, to keep that economic development going, everybody has a stake in how this crime is in the city. And I just I just want everybody to know that.

Any last thoughts?

No, happy to be here with you, happy and very excited on the new role that I'm taking on. I tell people all the time, this is the best police department in the country for many, many different reasons. And so because of that I am super humbled to be sitting in the chief's chair.

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.