University hires monitor for police reform after fatal stop

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2016 9:42 PM
University hires monitor for police reform after fatal stop

CINCINNATI (AP) — The University of Cincinnati has hired an outside monitor to oversee reform of its police department after the fatal 2015 shooting of an unarmed black motorist by one of its police officers.

The university's Board of Trustees this week hired Exiger, a New York consulting firm, as the outside monitor for the next three years, university officials said on Friday. The trustees also approved a policy on policing standards to help guide the university's police reform efforts.

Fired University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter in the July 19, 2015, shooting death of Sam DuBose after pulling him over near campus for a missing front license plate. Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of Tensing, who is white.

The shooting of DuBose occurred during heightened scrutiny of police treatment of blacks across the United States, after a string of police-inflicted deaths including in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Chicago sparked sometimes-violent protests.

Exiger was hired last year to perform a review of UC police after DuBose's death. Monitors from the firm will assess progress in implementing recommendations from that review and focus on reforms in police procedures, recruitment, training and accountability, among other areas.

"We sought the best experts in the field to help us create a national standard for voluntary reform," Robin Engel, UC's vice president for safety and reform, said in a statement Friday.

Exiger will develop a written plan within the first 90 days of its monitoring to outline compliance deadlines for assessments, reviews and audits with quarterly status updates to be made to the trustees and other university groups.

The policing policy approved this week establishes six principles of policing to guide the UC reforms. Those are transparency, legitimacy, accountability, fairness, collaboration and innovation.

"These principles establish a guide for how we expect our police officers to interact with members of our diverse community," said university Board Chairman Rob Richardson, Jr. "We want to be a world-class example for what policing is and how it should be done."

Reforms already taken by UC include the creation of a Community Advisory Council and the implementation of an early warning system used to flag patterns of officer behavior, such as use of force, for review.