City Manager to PD: Friday deadline for violence reduction plan - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

City Manager to PD: Friday deadline for violence reduction plan

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Lisa Hutson) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Lisa Hutson)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

City Manager Harry Black has given Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and the Cincinnati Police Department until Friday to come up with a 90-day violence reduction plan.

Black says the troubling spike in violent crimes within the city as the reason for the new plan. Just this year, Cincinnati has experienced 30 homicides including the most recent on Monday.

"Maintaining public safety is a top priority of this administration and I will continue to be actively engaged with the Cincinnati Police Department leadership who have demonstrated they have the strategies, tactics and resources in place to address these issues, which in most cases appear to be targeted acts of violence," said Black.

Councilmember Yvette Simpson tells FOX19 Now the city should wait until the end of the summer before any changes are made if they are to be made. She wants the evaluation process to be fair for the chief.

“If there's an issue with say the chief wanting to leave and that's a recurring then we need to deal with that issue separate and apart from what we perceive as an up-tick in crime, because the reality is I don't think it's fair and I don't think we've evaluated any chief based on what crime is doing in the middle of the summer which we know is going to be a naturally high crime time,” said Simpson.

Kathy Harrell, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge #69, told 700 WLW's Bill Cunningham Monday there are districts with less than three officers on patrol during a given shift because so many officers are assigned to specialized task forces related to the department's community policing commitments. Chief Blackwell maintains the number of officers on the street have no measurable impact on homicides.

"Our staffing levels when it comes to uniform patrol on the street are very critically low. Very low,” said Harrell. “You have to look at where you are right now, what is going on in your city and you've got to make changes if we are all going to be successful because that is what we all want."

While the relationship between the city and the police chief appears strained after a weekend of speculation around Blackwell's possible resignation, Black says both sides are putting their focus back on the safety of the city.

"I think we are getting there. I mean obviously the weekend was a tough weekend but the chief came out and made a statement that he is here. He wants to be here. He's the police chief,” said Black.

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