Police-Community Relations in Cincinnati

Year Three Evaluation Report

by Terry L. Schell, Greg Ridgeway, Travis L. Dixon, Susan Turner, K. Jack Riley

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Abstract

In 2002, the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD), the Fraternal Order of Police, and the ACLU joined together in a collaborative agreement to resolve social conflict, improve community relations, and avoid litigation in Cincinnati. This third-year evaluation reports that blacks continue to bear a disproportionate share of the impact of policing services by virtue of the clustering of crime, calls for service, and policing in predominantly black neighborhoods. While there is no evidence that the police systematically or deliberately treat blacks differently, blacks nevertheless experience a different kind of policing from that experienced by whites. In particular, blacks experience more policing and particularly more of the proactive policing exemplified by Operation Vortex. While it may not be possible to field a proactive enforcement strategy that is racially neutral, much of CPD’s interaction with the citizenry comes through vehicle stops. The quality, tenor, and tone of such stops are largely under police control. The department should thus pay special attention to training to ensure that these interactions are conducted consistently, courteously, and professionally. Without a concerted effort to ameliorate the disparate impact of these policies, it seems likely that black Cincinnati residents will remain less satisfied with policing services than will their white counterparts.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Context of Policing in Cincinnati: Crime, Arrests, and Use of Force

  • Chapter Three

    Analysis of Vehicle Stops

  • Chapter Four

    Analysis of Videotaped Police-Motorist Interactions

  • Chapter Five

    Summary and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Details of Propensity-Score Weighting

  • Appendix B

    Estimating False-Discovery Rates

  • Appendix C

    American Civil Liberties Union Response to Year Three Report

  • Appendix D

    Cincinnati Police Department Response to Year Three Report

  • Appendix E

    City of Cincinnati Response to Year Three Report

The research described in this report was sponsored by the City of Cincinnati and was conducted under the auspices of the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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