Cincinnati leaders search for new police chief

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - In the midst of the ongoing violence in the city, Cincinnati city leaders are still searching for a new police chief.  The question now, should the new top cop come from within, or outside the department as was the case when the former chief, James Craig, was hired.

Craig left his post last week to take the top police job in his hometown of Detroit.

The opening for his position has been posted on the city's website for a few weeks now.

With Craig's jump to Detroit, he leaves a big hole to fill with the city's crime rate at its lowest since 2000.

"This is a very, very key position for the city of Cincinnati.  This is not a small issue, is my point.  It's a very, very important issue for the city of Cincinnati that we make a good selection," said city councilmember Chris Smitherman.

But the question coming up now is, where should the new chief come from?  For one city resident, hiring from outside the department is the answer.

"I think that they should hire someone outside of Cincinnati because they'll bring in a different view coming from their city, or state, wherever they're coming from, and they'll have their own perspective," said Christie Burns.

But, not everyone in the city sees it the same way.

"We need a police [chief] who comes from Cincinnati, period, because he knows the streets.  He's been watching," said Kenneth Jackson.

Jackson says the city needs someone who knows what the city's problem areas are, and finish what Craig started, especially in neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine.

"There's a lot of developing going on in OTR, Over-the-Rhine, and we have guys on street corners selling drugs and doing whatever, and they're still doing the same thing, killing each other.  We ain't trying to have that," added Jackson.

Councilmember Chris Smitherman is in the middle, though.  He sees the hiring as something that needs to be reserved for the best of the best.

"I think we'll have very strong candidates locally, and we'll also have strong candidates nationally, and I think that's a good thing for the city of Cincinnati that the pool will be strong," added Smitherman.

In an interview FOX19 did with Craig on his last day, we asked him if the city should hire internal or external.  He told  us he was a "pro inside guy," though he's an outsider.

We reached out to police union president Kathy Harrell, she told us she had no comment on the hiring situation, but thinks there will be several internal candidates applying.

The city's communication director, Meg Olberding told FOX19 a count on applications received so far for the job could be out later this week.

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