Memo: Cincinnati cops will be required to get out of cars, search by foot

Officers cleared of negligence in Plush investigation

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati police appear to be changing some procedures in light of Kyle Plush’s death.

They will now require officers to get out of their cars and search by foot, among other changes, when they respond to 911 disconnect calls, 911 silent calls and calls for unknown trouble, police records show.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac signed off on the change, among others, to an existing procedure last week, according to a memo FOX19 NOW obtained.

The chief wrote “Approved” Nov. 13 on a Nov. 7 memo to him from a lieutenant in CPD’s Support Bureau outlining the revisions, the memo shows.

That was just two days before consultants who conducted investigations into the teen’s death presented their findings to City Council on Thursday.

It’s not clear when the updated policy would take effect. It could come by year’s end.

We have reached out to the police department for comment and will update this story once we hear back.

This also comes as the leader of the union that represents Cincinnati police asks Council to "close their unending investigation” into Kyle’s death.

Sgt. Dan Hils said he will call on union members to vote on his proposal and send a message to Council when they hold their monthly meeting Monday night at the Fraternal Order of Police’s headquarters.

We also reached out to Hils to get his reaction to the policy revision.

Three separate investigations have now cleared Cincinnati police in their response when Kyle called 911 on April 10 when he became trapped in his minivan.

He suffocated to death and was not found for hours.

While the probes cleared police, the city’s consultants heavily criticized the city’s 911 center’s response and made several recommendations for change.

Kyle Plush (Provided)
Kyle Plush (Provided)

The two officers who were dispatched to Seven Hills after Kyle’s first 911 call, Edsel Osborne and Brian Brazile, didn’t get out of their car while searching for him.

That has been criticized, but the consultants said they found that reasonable and noted there was no policy requiring them to.

The officers explained later that they felt they could cover more ground by vehicle.

This is an issue that has put police under the microscope before.

For instance, District 4 officers who did not get out of their cars failed to find a shooting victim on Jan. 12, 2017 in Walnut Hills, FOX19 NOW reported earlier this year.

A 2017 police memo written by CPD’s then Assistant Police Chief David Bailey shows a review of the response by dispatchers and police officers to a call about the shooting, which ultimately was determined to be a homicide of 23-year-old man “indicates serious service issues occurred in all facets of the call.”

At that time, Bailey called for District 4 and the 911 center “to investigate and make specific recommendations on how to improve service delivery and supervision,” his memo shows.

Now, under the revised policy, police won’t have discretion to decide if they should get out of their cars or not when it comes to 911 disconnect, silent calls or unknown trouble calls.

A new section in an existing procedure calls for changes to dispatch and police response, the memo shows:

911 disconnect calls

When the 911 operator answers an emergency 911 call and the caller is disconnected, the dispatcher will attempt to recall the phone number supplied by the automatic number identifier in the computer assisted dispatch system (CAD), the memo shows.

  • If the attempt to recall is successful and no emergency exists, no units will be dispatched
  • If the attempt to recall is unsuccessful ECC will dispatch two units to the location supplied by the automatic location identifier
  • Officers will leave their vehicles to inspect areas on foot once they are within an appropriate distance to caller location
  • Officers will call for additional information if they cannot locate the caller
  • Officers will utilize the GPS App if they cannot locate the caller and leave their vehicles to inspect areas on foot once they are within an appropriate distance to caller location

If the location is identified as a pay phone, the 911 center will dispatch one unit.

Related story: Man having ‘mental breakdown’ found dead after 911 call taker deflects request for police

911 silent calls, unknown trouble calls

When the 911 operator answers an emergency 911 call and the caller fails to give a voice response or the operator is unable to understand the nature of the call and the line remains open the operator will dispatch two officers to the location supplied in CAD

  • Officers will call for additional information if they cannot locate the caller
  • Officers will use the GPS App in an attempt to locate the caller
  • Officers will leave their vehicles to inspect areas on foot once they are within an appropriate distance to caller location

The policy also says:

If the location is a payphone, the 911 center will dispatch one unit.

The 911 operator will attempt to keep the line open until the officer on scene hangs up on the phone, the memo states.

The 911 supervisor may give permission to hang up the line if the call originates from a payphone and no activity is heard.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.