On June 7th of 2015, I wrote a piece about my discomfort with private police forces- here is just a short excerpt:
The rise of private police forces and hired gun security services is a relatively new thing. The real question is should these private armies really have legal standing? And, why are they necessary in the first place? Some blame the cost of unions and pensions of the real police. Others say crime is rising and we have to protect our fiefdoms. The reality is that society is breaking down and we’re blissfully ignoring the warning signs.
Now, with the murder of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati by a University of Cincinnati “police officer” engaged in a “chicken crap stop” (the prosecutor’s words, not mine) over a missing front license plate (which Sam had, but just hadn’t mounted) others are having the same discussion. Here is the stabilized, uncensored video:
Some people are asking the same questions: why?
There are questions about training standards. In the rarest of rare, a judge on the federal bench spoke out against the practice:
Although the consent decree expired in 2008, an advisory group meets regularly with the city to monitor continued adherence to what it calls “the collaborative.” Some group members, including Judge Susan Dlott of U. S. District Court, who oversaw the consent decree, say they were alarmed to learn, after Mr. DuBose’s death, that the university had a formal agreement to patrol beyond campus borders.
“We were furious, because we knew that the U.C. police have not had any of the training that the Cincinnati police have,” Judge Dlott said.
The fundamental issue is who is watching over these keystone cops? Who is held accountable? Whom can we pressure that we elect, to get rid of bad cops? Sheriff Phil Plummer knew that he wouldn’t get reelected had he not fired the two supervisors in his department who were exchanging racist text messages. He was accountable.
Municipal police chiefs are accountable to a city manager or a mayor, and both of them are accountable to voters. Not so with campus cops.
Today, UC President Santa Ono, announced that he was appointing one of his professors to oversee the campus department:
The University of Cincinnati has created a new executive position to oversee campus safety and police reform – more reaction to last month’s officer-involved fatal shooting.
Respected criminologist Robin Engel has been named vice president for safety and reform effective immediately, UC President Santa Ono announced Tuesday.
Engel has been a professor in UC’s highly regarded School of Criminal Justice. UC has not yet announced what Engel is being paid to serve in the new role, which has been created in the wake of now-former UC Police Officer Ray Tensing shooting and killing Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop on July 19.
Engel’s research has focused in part on racial profiling, and she has worked with the city of Cincinnati on its collaborative agreement and the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).
Engel said she will not directly oversee day-to-day operations in public safety or in the university’s police department. Instead, she will report directly to Ono and will advise him and UC’s trustees on long-term strategy.
I have nothing against professor Engel, however, she has zero police training, and voters can’t fire her, or President Ono.
There can be no mistake, the ability to hire and fire the head cop is critical to the confidence the public, and even the police force has in a department. A long time ago, soon after I moved into Dayton, the police department had lost faith in Chief Tyree Broomfield. The politicians couldn’t stomach the idea of firing our first black police chief. In a very strange move, local businessman Tom Danis stepped in and offered to pay Broomfield $100K to resign- which he promptly did. In most communities, paying off a policeman would be frowned on, here it was cheered. Broomfield went to a job running the private force for Central State and didn’t lose any sleep over it.
If you go back and read my article from June 7, I was against the dilution of police command and control amongst many sub-departments.
After watching the video of former UC Officer Ray Tensing, you too should have good reason to question the training and ability of these private police forces.
After the rash of questionable shooting by under-trained or sub-standard police officers in Ohio, the state has stepped in and started requiring more hours of training, and even a high school diploma as qualifications to be a police officer. But on the flip side, they are also insisting that cops should babysit traffic cameras with the threat of withholding state money if cities like Dayton continue to use them.
Using this same rationale, maybe cities should levy “licenses” on private police officers equal to their pay- to make all these private organizations leave the policing to the professionals. Dayton would gain the numbers of cops working for Sinclair, UD, Premier Health Partners, Kettering Health Network and even some MetroParks cops. Net gain, at least 100 more cops on the street- with proper training and a professional chief who reports not to a college president, or CEO, but to a city manager who works for our elected City Commission. It should also be included that no organization can have a private police force if it is exempt from paying property taxes, just because we shouldn’t have to pay for their protection, or our own- when they send out liars like Ray “I was dragged” Tensing.
And one last point, any cop who lies about another cop’s actions, should be found guilty of the same crime the officer who committed the crime is sentenced to. Enough of this “thin blue line” being held to cover up incompetence.