CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor Mallory and FOP President Kathy Harrell held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the suspension of the search for a new Police Chief.
The City Manager, Milton Dohoney, called off the search after the majority of Council voted to move forward with negotiations to dissolve the Police Department. Current Police Chief Tom Streicher is retiring in March.
The motion from the City Council states that the City Manager enter into formal discussions with Hamilton County Commissioners and the Hamilton County Sheriff to develop an agreed upon comprehensive proposal that would either contract with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department for Protective Patrol Services; which means there will be changes to the command structure, patrols, traffic, and other duties typically undertaken by the City of Cincinnati Patrol force, or merge the Cincinnati Police Department and the Sheriff's Department.
At the press conference, Mayor Mallory said, "I'm not giving away any secrets or strategies, but I will say one thing: I've never felt so strongly about anything as a mayor. The city will continue to have a police department."
The City of Cincinnati has released the following statement:
City Police Chief Search Suspended
Cincinnati, OH ---City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. announced today that he is suspending the search for the next Chief of the Cincinnati Police Department.
The City Council motion passed yesterday directing the Administration to pursue discussions with the Hamilton County Sheriff on the possibility of the patrol function being farmed out to the county as well as a discussion on a total merger of the two departments led the Manager to take this action.
"It is my belief that no established chief or assistant chief from another jurisdiction would risk giving up their current status to come to Cincinnati when the possibility exists that they could be unemployed if the department were dissolved through a merger," he said. "To continue our process in light of the current situation would be unwise. Moves to other localities involve entire families, not just the candidate themselves." Council asked for a report on the matter by April 1.
Dohoney said he will resume the search, if necessary, when there is clarity on the direction of the department. "I am committed to hiring an accomplished professional who is the right fit for our current and future needs. The best opportunity to do that is when we can have an applicant pool that is developed based on a department with a sense of stability," he continued.
Chief Tom Streicher retires March 7, 2011. The City Manager will announce his interim leadership plan for the department within the next several weeks.
Applications for the Police Chief position were being accepted until February 17. Those who had applied are being contacted about the suspended process. Dohoney said he was committed to an open and fair process with no predetermination as to who the next chief would be and would consider both internal and external candidates. Voters passed Issue 5 in 2001 that enables the City Manager to look across the country for the best candidates available as well as within the Police Department.