Cincinnati introduces new police chief

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The city of Cincinnati introduced its newest police chief today.

Jeffrey Blackwell is currently the deputy chief for the Columbus Division of Police, and he begins his tenure as the city's top cop later this month.

"I'm excited, I'm a little nervous. Actually I'm a lot nervous," said Blackwell.

Jeffrey Blackwell says Cincinnati and Columbus are a lot alike. His current staff has 1900 members while Cincinnati has 1300. However, CPD hasn't hired more officers since 2008 and Blackwell says he's no stranger to tough economic times.

"When you do experience that, you have to do more with less so we have to find those force multiplier positions and the increase use of technology," explains Blackwell.

City manager Milton Dohoney says he's encouraged by the work Blackwell has done as a member and safety chair of the Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Board and also through his experience in urban policing.

"If you look at the shootings that occur in Cincinnati there is by in large a youthful population that is both doing the shooting and being shot," said Dohoney.

"Most urban environments are African-American males being shot between the age of 16 and 24. Somehow we need to step in and interrupt that cycle of violence," explains Blackwell.

But Blackwell's past isn't perfect.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Blackwell says he experimented with cocaine earlier in his life and was fired from three restaurants. The paper also reports that in 2011 he testified in court while wearing his uniform and was investigated for possibly lying under oath. But on Tuesday city officials stood by their decision.

"The city manager has a very strong record of being comprehensive in his search for department heads. Today's selection is no exception," said Mayor Mark Mallory.

When the city announced the hiring on Friday, FOP president Kathy Harrell spoke with FOX19 about the decision. She says she was surprised it wasn't interim chief Paul Humphries, but she's optimistic with Blackwell.

"This is the second time we've gone outside with the chief, it is the national trending you see that happening. There's a lot that the city is dealing with right now, there's a lot that the police department is dealing with and I hope that he's up for the challenge," said Harrell.

Blackwell says even though he hasn't officially started, he's meeting with city council and community members to learn more about the city. When asked how long he expects to stay in Cincinnati, he says he hopes a minimum of five years.

Blackwell will be formally sworn in as Cincinnati's next police chief during a ceremony on September 30th.

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