UCPD had no way to track officer performance in quadrupling of b - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

UCPD had no way to track officer performance in quadrupling of black traffic stops

Center: James Whalen Left: Chief Jason Goodrich Right: Gregory Baker Center: James Whalen Left: Chief Jason Goodrich Right: Gregory Baker
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

For the first time since the killing of Sam DuBose at the hands of a University of Cincinnati police officer, UCPD’s chief faced the media. The university held a controlled press conference today, introducing the new head of UCPD.
 
For more than a week, FOX19’s investigative unit has requested an interview with UCPD Chief Jason Goodrich to find out how UCPD’s 2015 traffic stops tripled from 2013—the first year after Cincinnati gave UC the power to patrol off campus.

Still today, UC has not made the chief available to discuss the department’s patrol numbers and his handling of the department.

BLACK CITATIONS/STOPS QUADRUPLED SINCE 2013

Records provided to FOX19 by UC’s public relations office show between 2013 and July 2015, UCPD’s officers doubled the number of whites involved in UCPD cases while the number of blacks quadrupled in the same time frame.
 
Why? UC’s Vice President of Safety and Reform, Dr. Robin Engel told FOX19 she had “no context” to explain the data because the university did a “poor job” of compiling and analyzing UCPD officer conduct and policing practices.
 
UC also had no idea its officer performance numbers were where they were until we requested their enforcement data through the state’s Open Records Act. The university initially released citation data to us under the act, but later asked that we not use it because UC said the numbers it provided were inaccurate. 

“One of the things that we didn’t look at was officer performance,” Engel told reporters during Monday’s press conference. “We did look and measure other things, but we didn’t do that and that was a misstep. I’ll stand up here and say that was a misstep and it’s a step we’re now correcting moving forward.”
 
“Part of the top to bottom review is to look at—are the supervisors enforcing this, is this balance. What we’re looking at, do we have a few officers who are pushing the envelope? We just don’t have the answers to that yet, but that is coming and that’s what we’re going to find out,” UCPD Chief Jason Goodrich told reporters Monday.
 
When asked about the quadrupling in the number of blacks charged and ticketed, “I was horrified,” Goodrich said,” that number is not acceptable.”
 
Goodrich was the lone man in charge of UCPD until last week when the university announced it created a new position: the Director of Public Safety. UC appointed former Cincinnati Police Department Assistant Chief James Whalen to the post.
 
Goodrich reports directly to Whalen.
 
Goodrich explained the increase in enforcement at UC in that the university doubled its police force while growing its patrol area.

A December 2013 agreement with the city allowed UCPD to conduct off campus traffic stops, but only for “serious traffic offenses,” according to the agreement. A FOX19 analysis of police activity one month before the Sam DuBose killing shows no traffic stop that would meet the terms of the deal, aside from two speeding violations.

Those records do not show the speed involved in the two speeding cases.

CPD Chief Jeffrey Blackwell told FOX19 last week, the 2013 agreement was not in place to allow UCPD to become a traffic enforcement unit inside of the city’s jurisdiction.

“Is that our mission? Maybe, maybe not,” Goodrich said Monday. “Again, my philosophy on traffic stops has always been balance.”
 
THE FIX?

Last Friday, the University of Cincinnati’s public relations office sent out a press release that two new men would be headed to UC to turn around its police force. The positions were created inside the president’s office with no action from the UC Board of Trustees.
 
UC created a new post: Director of Public Safety and appointed James Whalen to the post last week. The same day, UC appointed Gregory Baker to the newly-created Director of Police Community relations post.
 
Neither man applied for the positions, according to UC, but were hand-picked by administrators.
 
During Monday’s press conference, we asked UC President Santa Ono about the salaries. Ono referred us to the UC Vice President for Administration and Finance, Bob Ambach. 

FOX19 was able to obtain documents that state Whalen will receive an annual salary of $175,000 and Baker will receive $170,000. 
 
The information is public record under the state’s Open Records Act.

Whalen told reporters he already had ideas in mind on where he saw UCPD going under his leadership—in the opposite direction of the university’s—admitted—aggressive, visible approach of the last couple of years, “Honestly, in an academic environment like this, we need to be almost invisible,” Whalen said.
 
“Safety needs to be looked at like when you turn on a light switch--you don't think about the miles of wires that make the lights come on. That's the way that safety needs to be in a campus environment and that's what we will strive to do,” Whalen explained.
 
Whalen saw the changes and reforms inside CPD in the months following the 2001 riots and told reporters, he’s using similar approaches to reform UCPD. What Whalen said he was not interested in was making UC a police-focused institution.

"Invisible enough to get the job done, but recognizing out role to support those around us, the students, the faculty, the community that's impacted by where we live, where we have our events and the things we do here,” Whalen said.
 
Baker’s position would serve to ensure “the community has a strong voice at the table and that the process will be transparent and credible,” Baker explained Monday.

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