CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Will he stay or will he go?
The US attorney general praised his accomplishments but according to the mayor, Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell asked for a separation agreement from the city last week.
"When I heard that the chief had asked for a separation agreement, I advised the city manager to try and convince the chief to stay. I hope he does stay,” said Mayor Cranley.
Reports surfaced Friday that the separation agreement was drawn up but never signed after a meeting between Chief Blackwell and city manager Harry Black. On Thursday, Black submitted ordinances to city council requesting permission to apply for an estimated $140,000 in state and federal grant money for Cincinnati Police.
The 2015 Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant from the United States Department of Justice and Bureau of Justice Assistance would reimburse CPD up to $40,000 of the $80,000 the department is expected to spend on vests in 2016.
The 2015 Police Human Trafficking Grant from the State of Ohio, Ohio Department of Public Safety and Office of Criminal Justice Services would give CPD up to $50,000 for personnel costs related to efforts to combat human trafficking. Another $50,000 state grant would fund the same costs related to the enforcement of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).
When asked Friday if he had the confidence of the city's elected and appointed officials, Chief Blackwell replied “I think so.”
City councilman Wendell Young says the rumor mill at city hall has speculated since Mayor Cranley's election that he wanted his own police chief after Blackwell was appointed without his approval. Now during a 10-year spike in shootings, Young says some have wondered if Cranley is taking an opportunity to select a new chief. It is a notion Mayor Cranley denies.
"People who are suggesting that I want to fire the chief or the manager don't know what they are talking about and they are causing discord at a time when we need to be united to fight crime,” said Cranley.
Saturday night Chief Blackwell squashed the rumors in a statement assuring citizens "I am the chief" adding he is working hard to fight the recent surge in violent crime.
"Obviously, as the chief I worry at night when I'm at home about my city, about crime, about the next shooting victim. I take it personal,” said Blackwell on Friday after a meeting with city leaders about the progress the department is making in curbing the violence.
City manager Harry Black said when it comes to all city department heads no matter how hard the work, the numbers never lie.
"I don't really focus on effort. I don't focus on how long you work. All I care about is what are you getting done? What are the results? What are the outcomes? I'm paying attention to the numbers,” said Black.