THE BIG PITCH: How should the Cincinnati police improve their imagein the local community?

SGT. JOHN PASQUARIELLO, spokesperson, office of chief of police,


We've had a number of controversial issues here in LA. But what we've

done successfully is establish a policy of holding meetings with the

community, town hall meetings, and set up policy advisory boards. We go

to the neighborhoods and try to get them to feel that we are part of the

community rather than an occupying force. We listen to their problems to

reduce people's sense of alienation. When people feel they're not part

of the system they rebel. So we try to incorporate the people into our


PAUL M. TARR, Director, Burson-Marsteller

Cincinnati's problems are ones I have witnessed from a law-enforcement

perspective. As a former New York City prosecutor during a period that

saw a small race riot in Manhattan and a major one in Brooklyn, I

learned that minority communities must regard their police departments

as truly public institutions and not as instruments of social control

The Cincinnati P.D. should learn from other cities and aggressively

publicize efforts to reduce tensions, including minority recruitment and

promotion; 'community policing' (which gets officers out of their patrol

cars and gives the department a more human face); and a demonstrated

willingness to address grievances. Officers who are invested in minority

communities - who grew up and perhaps still live in them - should leave

headquarters and make their case in the communities themselves. If these

communications are seen as reflecting a genuine desire for change, they

are less likely to be dismissed as empty pleas for order.

HOWARD RUBENSTEIN, president, Rubenstein Associates

They need to recruit more minority police officers and train the entire

force in being more sensitive to ethnic issues. You often find ingrained

attitudes in established police departments, but they need to get the

mayor, as well as the police commissioner, to make it clear that there

will be zero tolerance of intolerance. If that kind of message doesn't

come from the top it won't be acted on. They also need to make sure that

negative behavior amongst police officers is acted upon swiftly. Once

the internal work is under way they can think about going externally

with the new message, including the targeting of ethnic media. The

community needs to understand that the department will give no elbow

room to a bad cop.


The mayor and city council of Cincinnati should immediately declare

their commitment to the truth and to fixing the Cincinnati police

department. They should appoint a racially balanced panel of fair-minded

civic leaders to investigate the most recent shooting, as well as the 15

which went before it, to determine how and why so many unarmed black men

are being shot by the police. The mayor and council should commit to

full public hearings on the commission's report and promise urgent

action on all the panel's findings. In the interim, the chief of police

should disarm and assign to desk duty every officer involved in a

questionable shooting until all the facts can be made publicly known.

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