UCPD vehicle

The University of Cincinnati Police Division (UCPD) has completed its latest reform efforts a year ahead of schedule, but the division is still waiting to complete one final component.

The reform began following a July 2015 shooting in which Ray Tensing, a UCPD officer, shot and killed Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black man, at a traffic stop. UCPD hired Exiger, a third-party regulatory technology and compliance services provider, to overhaul the department top to bottom, culminating with a report designed to revisit several of the department’s practices.

UC’s reform efforts with Exiger were supposed to last three years, but the department managed to complete all but one of the 276 recommendations by December 2018.

The recommendations from Exiger included:

  • Ceasing to heavily use traffic stops as a crime-fighting method
  • Updating use-of-force policies
  • Conducting thousands of hours of training for officers
  • Implementing a data-driven strategy

Police Chief Maris Herold said the reform effort marks a big step in the division’s goal to become accredited by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).

“That’s the next big hurdle that we’ll jump,” Herold said. “As long as I’m here as chief, we will continue to move forward and progress, we will continue to research best practices, implement best practices and we will continue to train at the highest level.”

Accreditation with the IACLEA certifies that a campus police department has reached the highest professional standards possible. More than 1,200 institutions are accredited. The department will know in June if it has been selected for accreditation.

The Exiger mandate ended Dec. 1, and the department is now waiting on its final report, which is likely to arrive in March.

What’s next for UCPD?

The department will continue honing its geographic location technology, which it has been using to fight crime based on the precise spatial location of areas where crimes occur — a problem-oriented policing strategy. A map informs dispatchers about the type of crimes that have previously occurred in select areas, such as breaking-and-entering incidents, assaults or disturbance calls.

Michael Zidar, crime analyst at UCPD, said the department’s next goal is to implement facets of a technology to implement social networking into the map.

“Crime concentrates around people and places,” Zidar said. “If we can address the concentrations of crime and harm, that’s the goal.”

Herold said she is confident about moving forward after the reform efforts.

“Obviously change is hard, but I have to say [that] since I’ve been here, there is no group who haven’t taken to the change and met it head on,” Herold said. “These officers have done everything I’ve asked them to do, so kudos to them. I’m really proud of the work they’ve done.”