Police reforms cost taxpayers big - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Police reforms cost taxpayers big

The University of Cincinnati already is paying big salaries to three new officials hired to help reform campus police. (FOX19 NOW/Jody Barr) The University of Cincinnati already is paying big salaries to three new officials hired to help reform campus police. (FOX19 NOW/Jody Barr)
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) -

The University of Cincinnati has announced a couple of organizational changes aimed at reforming its police department in the wake of the Sam DuBose killing.

Those changes—so far—have cost taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars.
 
Dubose died July 19 after former officer Ray Tensing shot him in the head during an off-campus traffic stop. Tensing’s body camera shows DuBose firing his car up and rolled away when Tensing opened fire, shooting DuBose once in the head.
 
A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Tensing on charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter after watching the body camera footage.

Tensing was allowed to make the off campus stop after the city of Cincinnati granted UCPD the power in December 2013 to pull drivers and ticket them off campus.

UCPD was only allowed to ticket “serious traffic offenses,” which the contract defined as “one which jeopardizes the public safety and/or constitutes a misdemeanor of the fourth degree or higher offense.”
 
Tensing stopped DuBose over a missing front license plate, which is required in Ohio. UCPD records show the department cited eight drivers for the same offense between June 1 and July 19.
 
NEW POSITIONS, NEW COSTS


One week ago, the university created a new position for one of its leading crime researchers, Dr. Robin Engel: Vice President of Safety and Reform. Engel told FOX19 her job was to oversee numerous outside investigations into UCPD and institute reform measures at the department.
 
Engel has no supervisory authority regarding UCPD.

The president’s office created the position and UC Board of Trustees online records show there was no board approval of the position or any salary increase associated with the new post.
 
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office online database shows Engel made an annual salary of $81,359 in 2011, the last time the database was updated.
 
Engel’s 2015 salary is unclear. UC officials have not released it.

UC’s Assistant General Counsel, Katherine Miefert, confirmed in an email Tuesday morning the university created Engel’s position without negotiating
a contract or a salary to support it.
 
“At this time, the University does not have a salary for Dr. Engel’s new appointment," Miefert wrote. "Dr. Engel’s new appointment is slightly more complex than Mr. Whalen and Mr. Baker’s appointments, because it must take into consideration her faculty appointment, her research work and this new appointment."
 
Last Friday, UC announced the creation of two other positions related to police reforms: Director of Public Safety and Director of Police Community Relations. UC’s online board records show no agenda or board action approving the positions - or the $345,000 salaries tied to them.
 
Whalen is retiring from the Cincinnati Police Department after 29 years to take over as Director of Public Safety at UC. Whalen becomes UCPD Chief Jason Goodrich’s direct supervisor and is responsible for reforming policing practices at the university.
 
Whalen will earn $175,000 annually.
 
Gregory Baker takes over as Director of Community Police Relations. Baker’s post has no supervisory role at UCPD, but will serve as a liaison between the community and the department.


Baker will earn $170,000 a year.
 
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