CINCINNATI (AP) — The University of Cincinnati Police Department should bring back stun guns and implement reforms that include updated training, policies against biased policing and more monitoring, an outside consultant recommended.
The recommendations were included in a report put together by the monitoring and compliance firm Exiger. The university, which released the report Tuesday, sought the review as part of an overhaul of its police department since a white campus policeman's fatal shooting last July of a black motorist after a traffic stop.
"The report is comprehensive and set forth a road map for continuous improvement of the UC Police Department," UC President Santa Ono said. "The university is fully committed to taking necessary steps to become a national model for campus safety."
The suggestion to arm officers with stun guns would reverse a department policy implemented after a settlement with a family of a student who died in 2011 after an officer used a stun gun on him. The officer was cleared of wrongdoing by the Hamilton County prosecutor, but the family of 18-year-old Everette Howard received $2 million in a settlement with the university.
"We are very sensitive to the needs and concerns of our community," UC Vice President of Safety and Reform Robin Engel said.
Engel said the recommendation is something the community, the community advisory council and the Board of Trustees and administration will discuss and "determine whether it makes sense for us moving forward."
The Exiger report also said police shouldn't use traffic and pedestrian stops as a crime fighting tool. The city and university had an agreement to avoid off-campus traffic stops by UC police that was signed last August, weeks after a white officer, Ray Tensing, killed a black motorist, Samuel DuBose.
The university subsequently fired the 26-year-old Tensing, who pleaded not guilty to murder. The school and DuBose's family settled a wrongful death case for $4.9 million.
But The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (http://cin.ci/1t4SzKB) records show campus officers stopped nine cars near campus since August for violations such as erratic driving and not yielding to pedestrians. Campus officials said those cases involved immediate public safety concerns that jeopardized people's lives.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com