Cincinnati Collaborative 'refresh' will go on despite FOP withdrawal

Cincinnati Collaborative 'refresh' will go on despite FOP withdrawal

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A review and 'refresh' of Cincinnat's Collaborative Agreement will continue despite withdrawal this week by the police union amid furor over the Ray Tensing case, City Manager Harry Black announced Tuesday.

"From the beginning the FOP was welcomed as a partner in the Collaborative Agreement process as they were 15 years ago. This was solely the FOP's choice and they are certainly entitled to make the decision as they see fit," Black said in a prepared statement.

"However disappointing this is, we remain fully committed to the refresh which will continue uninterrupted. All remaining parties, including our police department will continue on with this most important work.

"The men and women of our police force do an extraordinary job. This work is for the greater good of the City and is aimed at keeping us ahead of the curve.

"We hope that further along in the process the FOP will reconsider and return as a partner."

Can the Collaborative truly be refreshed without participation of the FOP?

"Everyone will have to ask themselves that," Hils said Wednesday.

Related story: Collaborative policing 'in danger,' says leader of black officers

"The Cincinnati Police Department does an extraordinary job. For 15 years, the community's improved relationship with our police department has come with the full support of the police union, which represents all officers, including the rank-and-file. This is not the time to leave the conversation," Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said.

"We must revisit and update the Collaborative and we must do it right now. The Collaborative is a model for policing for a reason, because we hear from the community and our officers, create and consider new ideas, processes, and protocols, and implement them for the betterment of our city, even when times are tough.

"I sincerely hope the FOP reconsiders its position and agrees to do what is best for our community and our officers. We must move forward in a positive, collaborative way."

One of the Tri-State's most prominent civil rights leaders, Bishop Bobby Hilton, criticized the FOP's decision to withdraw and said the community will continue to question the actions of the lead investigator on Tensing's fatal shooting of Sam DuBose.

Hilton agrees with recent calls from DuBose's family and their attorney, Al Gerhardstein, a key Collaborative member, for Cincinnati police to investigate Sgt.Shannon Heine, who interviewed Tensing two days after he fatally shot DuBose at a 2015 traffic stop.

The police union president, Sgt. Dan Hils, objected the prosecutor's office when an assistant prosecutor criticized Heine after her testimony in Tensing's second trial.

On Friday, Cincinnati police officials released a report showing Heine was cleared by the department of wrongdoing, partly because prosecutors had met with her before the trial and had "full knowledge of these opinions," but opted to call her anyway."

"Cincinnati's Collaborative Agreement has proven to be a phenomenal document which without doubt improved and advanced police – community relations.  It is absurd that the FOP voted to withdraw from the Collaborative Agreement "Refresh".

"Apparently, some FOP members are upset because of questions and investigations regarding Sgt. Shannon Heine's testimony during the second Tensing trial," Hilton said. "According to Sentinel President Eddie Hawkins, this decision was made by a majority of officers who are retired."

"Community members have questions and we deserve answers.  We deserve to know how Sgt. Heine came to the conclusion and testified she saw no discrepancies between Tensing's report and the body cam video.  Questions and investigations should continue until we get answers."

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