For the first time, Cincinnati can hire a police chief from anywhere, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. Until now, every chief in the department's 207-year history has come from within the ranks. Voters gave the city the power to hire fire and police chiefs from the outside in 2001, after riots prompted by the death of an unarmed African-American man who ran from police and was shot by an officer. The police chief job may be the most important in Cincinnati. Nothing dogs the city more than the perception that it is unsafe – even though data show that crime is falling.
The new chief could be taking over from Tom Streicher a department that, for budget reasons, may shrink or lose its patrol functions to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. The Enquirer interviewed more than a dozen people, including crime victims, elected officials, police officers and neighborhood activists, to see what Cincinnati wants and needs in the next chief. They want someone selected through an honest and public process who makes them be safe and feel safe. Someone who fully gets what Cincinnati has endured in the past decade in terms of the department's relationship with African-Americans. For the man doing the hiring, connection with the community seems to be key. At the top of a four-page ad for the job, City Manager Milton Dohoney said he is seeking a community-oriented law enforcement leader with a legacy of integrity.