CPD morale and communication concerns prompt review - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

CPD morale and communication concerns prompt review

Harry Black (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW File) Harry Black (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW File)

While Cincinnati city and police officials work to fight back against a 10-year high in shootings over the past six months, the police department is under a microscope.

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and the department have until Friday to launch a 90-day plan to cut the violence.

"I think it's being mischaracterized as an ultimatum," Blackwell said Tuesday. "The manager just wants us to work on a summer safety initiative, which I was already working on."

Blackwell told FOX19 NOW he plans on having town hall meetings Thursday and Friday to gather input from the community on what really needs to happen to cut down on the violence. No time or venue has been set, but he said one will be held on the city's East Side and a second will take place on the West Side.

"The data that we use suggests that we're right where we were last year. The only category which is a very troubling category is shootings,” he said.

City Manager Harry Black has tasked police to craft a 90-day plan to cut those numbers by Friday. 

But, police officials work on that, the agency will undergo a top-to-bottom review.

Black on Tuesday released a memo to the mayor and city council announcing it was being launched amid concerns over communication and morale.

The city recently completed similar reviews in its the public services, recreation and human services departments. Other ones are underway in the Department of Sewer and Greater Cincinnati Water Works.

"Based on a recommendation from the Human Resources Director, I have asked the Human Resources Department to engage the Cincinnati Police Department in a climate assessment process in order to assess internal communication and employee morale," Black wrote.

Last week, it was announced that Blackwell may be possibly resigning. He has since said he wants to stay.

"I really need to put the distractions away from me so that I can concentrate on doing my job. My job is to be the police chief. I'm not a politician,” Blackwell told FOX19 NOW Tuesday. “The manager and I are fine. He's got a job to do. I have a job to do. There is no contention between us. The mayor and I are fine."

Regarding any issues uncovered in the assessment of the police department, Black responded: “To the extent issues needing attention are identified, recommendations for improvement will be presented and followed up.”

“I expect this to be a collaborative engagement process with the Cincinnati Police Department leadership and will only aid law enforcement efforts,” Black writes.

As for Blackwell and the department, time is ticking away to Friday to find a solution.

"We are a safe big city. We're very safe. We hope to make it safer. That's our goal,” Blackwell said.

Black says that the city will continue to use the assessment tactic “when necessary” saying it's “important we foster a productive highly functioning work environment.”

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