The Cincinnati Police Department has made significant progress in changing practices and building community relationships since race riots stunned the city in 2001, a court-appointed monitor said in his final report released Tuesday.
The report wraps up a six-year review of police procedures, policies, training and record keeping. It resulted from an agreement with the Justice Department a year after the riots and from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and black activists who claimed 30 years of harassment by police.
The report was expected in October but was delayed when monitor Saul Green was appointed deputy mayor of Detroit in a shake-up of that city's government. His report said Cincinnati's police reform effort was one of the most ambitious ever attempted _ and one of the most successful.
"The parties' performance under the agreements were initially halting and defensive," the report said. "With time and the emergence of impressive leadership throughout the Cincinnati community, significant compliance with the agreements were achieved resulting in the Cincinnati collaborative being one of the most successful police reform efforts ever undertaken in this country."
Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday evening for Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. and for an attorney representing the ACLU.
Green had indicated at a court hearing in August that his final report would be favorable, and U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott, who appointed Green, said she expected to accept it.
The main component of the reform program is known as Community Problem-Oriented Policing, which required numerous new policies and procedures, including training and record keeping.
"The city of Cincinnati is now in a very different situation than it was in 2002," the report concluded. "The CPD has improved its training, its policies and procedures, its investigations of uses of force and citizen complaints, its risk management and its accountability."
The report noted continuing efforts to improve relations between police and the community, particularly the African-American community.
The 2001 riots came after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer who was trying to make an arrest.
The monitoring was to have lasted five years, but the parties agreed last year to add another year to make the transition complete. The president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has said that monitoring should continue.
"Many communities, over many decades, have tried to ameliorate the persistent problem of friction between minority communities, particularly African American communities, and the police, with little success," Green wrote.
"This report documents what went right, what went wrong and what is still to be accomplished. We hope it will serve as a resource for other communities that face the complex challenge of producing healthy and productive police-community relationships and effective public safety."
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