Police union rep: Politics ruling over 'reasonableness' in Plush - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Police union rep: Politics ruling over 'reasonableness' in Plush investigation

Kyle Plush's father and aunt attend the Law and Public Safety Committee meeting (FOX19 NOW) Kyle Plush's father and aunt attend the Law and Public Safety Committee meeting (FOX19 NOW)
The Law and Public Safety Committee is expected to meet Monday to once again discuss and answer questions in the Kyle Plush death investigation (Provided) The Law and Public Safety Committee is expected to meet Monday to once again discuss and answer questions in the Kyle Plush death investigation (Provided)

The man who represents Cincinnati's police union says City Council is making things worse in the wake of 16-year-old Kyle Plush's death.

The teen was found dead inside his family's gold Honda Odyssey van in the school parking lot earlier this year more than 5 1/2 hours after calling 911 for help.

Sgt. Dan Hils has turned to social media to help get his message out. His Facebook post criticizes council, saying the governing body is taking advantage of the Plush family.

City hires 2 firms to investigate police, 911 center response to Kyle Plush

"Council, in my sense, is using the Plush family as part of this investigative body," he wrote.

The teen's father has been intensely involved with the investigation, asking questions and offering solutions. Council member Amy Murray, co-chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee, says councilors want to get to the bottom of this and want to make the city's 911 call center better.

Council is looking into major reforms to the center.

Hils says the 911 center has been made less effective and has criticized leaders for taking control of the operation away from the police department.

"Frankly, that's what got us into this mess years ago -- was turning it away from police control," Hils said.

Acting city manager Patrick Duhaney replaced call center head Capt. James Gramke with the city's IT director Jayson Dunn.

"The captain that was there was making great strides in reform," Hils said. "The morale was getting better. This was reported to me by a large, large number of folks. And it seems, at the time, it was doing its very best."

Murray says he's set to retire at the end of the year.

"I think when we're putting someone into our (911 call center) we need to have someone we're hoping is there long term," she said.

The city is bringing in independent investigators to look in Kyle Plush's death and the problems that came to light and how dispatchers handled it. Murray recently sat in and watched dispatchers over a entire 12 hour shift.

Hils says shaking things up is not the way to go.

"And I don't think that's what the Plush family would want, in the end to, you know, in Kyle's memory, that's not would anybody would want is to make something less effective and just change for change sake," he said.

The full post from Hils can be read below:

A lot of things get painted after funerals.

When someone has experienced a great personal loss they sometimes will sink themselves into a cause or a project. I dove head first into my work at the FOP after losing my daughter. After losing her husband, a friend of mine painted everything in her house, except for her dogs. Luckily, they kept moving.

This morning at the City’s Law and Public Safety meeting the Plush family had their own power point presentation. Ron Plush, in Kyle’s memory seems to have dived into the project of fixing everything reported to be broken in the Cincinnati Police Department and its communications section. The Plush family is now partially directing a multi layered and complex investigation of the police department’s operations and the response to Kyle’s call to 911.

The politically incorrect truth is that there is no “bad guy” and no great coverup. Kyle died in the most unlikely of accidents imaginable. Kyle’s 911 call for help failed for a multitude of reasons, but without anyone’s abandonment of duty or service to the public. For example, the police officers believed they were responding for a non-emergent situation involving a woman with malfunctioning car locks. Their response was consistent and legitimate for the information they were given. The misinformation from the call center was also created without anyone’s willful neglect.

This is not fair to the Plush family, the citizens of Cincinnati, or to the professionals both conducting and subject to this investigation. There is likely no one in city government that will have the insight and/or political nerve to admit this. So, the Plush family will continue to be put on edge as they have unwisely been given or allowed so much responsibility. In my opinion, this will likely tragically delay the family’s grieving and healing process.

In the meantime, politics will rule over reasonableness. Already there has been very poor management decisions made which will make the ECC more dysfunctional, rather than less so. The Command Staff in the Police Department know this, but they will not dare speak up. The one thing that should not be painted over after Kyle’s loss is the truth. Unfortunately, I already feel there is a couple of coats on it!

Daniel Hils

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