Cecil Thomas

Cecil was born inBirmingham, Alabama in 1952. At age eight, his family moved to Cincinnati’s West End community near City Hall. He attended St. Anthony Catholic School in the Queensgate area until his family moved to Walnut Hills where he attended Assumption.

After graduating from Withrow High School, Cecil desired to attend college, however, like many inner city urban youth, his family did not have the financial resources.  Therefore, he took a job with the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company as a janitor. Upon being told by his boss that he had a future with the company, undoubtedly as a janitor, Cecil decided to alter the course of his destiny. He joined the Cincinnati Police Cadet Program, which offered a free college education.  Upon graduation from college, Cecil officially joined the ranks of the Cincinnati Police Department.

Cecil spent twenty-seven years with the CPD and worked in every district, including all 52 neighborhoods.  He also worked in numerous special assignments, such as undercover narcotics, robbery task force, investigative unit and homicide task force. One of the highlights of his police career occurred during his assignment to the Homicide Task Force. He was charged with investigating the brutal murder of Officer Charles Burdsall. His team efforts led to the successful arrest of two suspects. He was then assigned to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office under Simon Leis to assist in the prosecution of those suspects. To his credit, they are currently serving life sentences in the Ohio Penal System. Cecil remains a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Sentinel Police Association.

After a successful career as a police officer, Cecil retired in 2000 to assume the Executive Directorship of the embattled Cincinnati Human Relations Commission.  Under his leadership, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission soared to new heights and is now recognized nationally as one of the premier human relations organizations in the country.  While director of CHRC, Cecil was often sought out to diffuse volatile incidences in the City. He was heralded for his unique ability to build bridges and connect cultures.  At the height of his career with CHRC, Cecil stepped down believing he could more effectively and efficiently represent the community he vowed to protect and serve as a member of Cincinnati City Council.

Cecil’s candor, ability to work with all people groups, and his passion to tirelessly pursue both justice and peace have earned him the respect of many public officials, community leaders and citizens.

“He’s a good resource,” Luken said. “He understands the community and is very helpful.” (Mayor Charlie Luken)  Cincinnati Post 4/26/01.

“He’s helped us tremendously,” Streicher said. “He’s given us some good advice on how to resolve the conflicts.” (Chief Tom Streicher)   Cincinnati Post 4/26/01

“He is key for the city, “said Rev Aaron Greenlea, President of the Baptist Ministers Conference and co-chairman of the Greater Cincinnati Faith Community Alliance.  Cecil sees both sides.  When I first heard he was up for the director’s job, I was wary because he was a police officer and would be one-sided. But that is not true. He has stayed balanced and is doing excellent work. This is a giant step for him to call on the clergy today. (Rev. Aaron Greelea)    Cincinnati Post 4/26/01

Cecil Thomas, director of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, and six other CHRC employees stood between screaming protesters and officers in riot gear outside police headquarters Monday night for several hours.   Post report dated 4/11/01

Cecil can be tough when necessary.  He is well-trained in tactical police policy and procedure.  (Director Police Training Academy)

“It’s very refreshing when someone like you has paid his dues feels the pulse of the community and knows the pain from past experiences.  Usually, department heads like you lack the sensitivity and rich background of experience and are hired from the outside.  Cecil, you are a real person.”  (Buddy LaRosa 5/24/2001)

“After listening to you and how you have come to your beliefs, I believe that you are a person of integrity.  As Father Bremlage stated, we are indeed fortunate to have you in the position of Director of the Human relations Commission for the City of Cincinnati.”  (Lynn Martiny Cathedral of St. Peter In Chains Archdiocese of Greater Cincinnati 12/12/2002)

“You have done a superb job.  You seem to have been everywhere.  You have been better for our City than we deserve.”  (The Rev. Duane Holm, Director, Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati 4/24//2001)

It is clear that Cecil has been effective in his career as a police officer, CEO and community leader. His exemplary record speaks for itself. If Cincinnati is to change for the better, it will only occur when fearless, leaders, such as Cecil Thomas, using all of his life and career experiences are elected by the people to serve the people.

Cecil has been married to Pam Thomas for the past twenty-three years.  They have four adult children and four grandchildren.  They have resided in the community of North Avondale for the past twenty-five years.