Here's how UCPD has changed since DuBose shooting

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 9:50 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2016 at 9:50 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Changes began at the University of Cincinnati's police department almost immediately after one of its officers shot and killed a man during a traffic stop off campus last year.

On Wednesday, university officials held a forum to explain detail all the reforms since former officer Ray Tensing, 26, shot Sam DuBose, 43, in Mt. Auburn on July 19, 2015.

They fired Tensing the day he was indicted on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges - ones he is scheduled to stand trial for next week.

The shooting prompted university officials to initiate a voluntary reform that has dramatically changed the way the campus police department operates.

There is new police and public safety leadership, a new policing strategy and new data used to track officers' performance and to hold them accountable.

The university also is hiring an external monitor to oversee all the reform efforts to ensure changes are made.

UCPD Police Chief Anthony Carter said in Wednesday's forum the agency is working to diversify its officers by hiring more minorities.

It's one of several steps the department is taking to rebuild the community's trust, he said.

Ministers, activists and officers attended the forum and appeared to listening intently.

"We are going to see that officers are trained radically different," Maris Herold, UC's assistant police chief, pledged to them.

Going forward, all of UCPD's officers will go through de-escalation training that teaches tactics to defuse tense encounters.

The department also is focusing on transparency, accountability and fair and impartial policing, Carter said.

"Our training lets the officers know we all have implicit biases," he said.

"What we need for you to do is understand you have them and understand that biases cannot affect the way you treat and interact with individuals on campus and off campus."

Seven months before DuBose was killed, UC's own data showed its police department made 230 arrests and issued 935 citations.

Most of those arrested were black.

"We will not use pedestrian and traffic stops as our primary means of crime prevention," Carter said.

Now, arrests are down 70 percent and citations plunged 95 percent.

Violent crime fell 29 percent.

Victoria Straughn works at UC and is a community activist.

She said she liked much of what she heard during the forum - but she also said she hopes it's not just lip-service.

"Once you put those things in place, people are really going to look at not just the changes you made but how are those changes going to be sustained over a period of time."

She also said she she would like to see UC interact with the community more to get a feel for the changes they want.

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