UC's Safety and Reform Community Advisory Council meets for the first time

Published: Oct. 28, 2015 at 1:14 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2015 at 1:46 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - University of Cincinnati's Safety and Reform Community Advisory Council (CAC) met for the first time Tuesday night.

The 18-member council was established to provide guidance on UC Police reform efforts following the July 19 officer-involved shooting death of Samuel DuBose.

"The University of Cincinnati is committed to listening to all voices so that we can create an inclusive environment to foster educational growth," said UC President Santa Ono, in a release. "Establishment of the CAC will allow the voices and diverse perspectives of all individuals to be heard and considered as we work with our community partners to move the city and university communities forward."

The group will meet monthly and be chaired by the Honorable Judge John A. West of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. He will work directly with UC's Vice President for Safety and Reform, Robin Engel, and S. Gregory Baker, director of police community relations.

University officials say they hope the efforts will rebuild community trust.

"The goal of the CAC is to listen and restore trust within our community and develop UCPD into a national model for urban campuses," said Engel. "Efforts to implement equitable and effective policing and rebuild relationships within our communities are critical. Development of the CAC is an extremely important milestone."

According to a release, the goal of the CAC is to advise Engel on developing UCPD's reform agenda as well as tracking its progress and communicating its impact. They will also assist Baker in building, enhancing and expanding UCPD's relationships on UC's campus and in local communities.

"I anticipate this process is going to be ever-evolving.  It's never going to be fully finished simply because social justice issues and social justice movements are never finished.  There's always work to be done," Engel said.

As part of their work, they'll put together an external team to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the UC Police Department's policies, procedures and practices. Which will be coming in the next few months, the group said.

"We don't just want to "check the box."  We don't want to just stop at reform.  We want to continue to lead the country in police-community relations.  In order to do that, we need all of the voices at the table," Engel said.

The five core principles that will guide the CAC's work are, transparency, legitimacy, fairness, collaboration and innovation.

"CAC members represent many facets of the greater Cincinnati community and bring a wide array of talents and insight," said Judge West. "The collective voice of this group will lead impactful and lasting change, not only between police and residents here in Cincinnati, but potentially between police departments and communities across the country. The work we are about to embark upon will be difficult and challenging, but also groundbreaking."

The group is mixed with faith leaders, law enforcement, students and others. The members of the CAC are:

- Eric Abercrumbie PhD, Executive Director, Diversity & Community Relations, UC
- Officer Doug Barge, UCPD Fraternal Order of Police
- Marcus Bethay, President, African American Alumni Affiliate
- Dejanay Drummonds, United Black Student Association, UC
- Mike Ealy, President, Corryville Community Council
- Margaret Fox, Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati
- Bishop Bobby Hilton, Senior Pastor, Word of Deliverance Ministries for the World
- Chara Fisher Jackson, Executive Director, Greater Cincinnati Urban League
- Doloris F. Learmonth, Esq, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
- Jack Martin, CUF Neighborhood Association
- Janet Moore, Associate Professor, UC College of Law
- Andrew Naab, President, UC Student Government
- Clarence Newsome, PhD, President, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- James E. Schwab, President & CEO, Interact for Health
- Pastor KZ Smith, Senior Pastor, Corinthian Baptist Church of Cincinnati
- Pastor Ennis F. Tait, Overseer, Church of the Living God
- Captain Teresa Theetge, Cincinnati Police Department
- Charlene Ventura, Retired President and CEO of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati

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