Cincinnati’s police chief and the head of the police union are at odds about allowing civilians to process crime scenes.
The city manager’s proposed budget calls for gradually hiring ten civilians to be criminalists. The police officers currently doing that work would be shifted to other roles.
The Fraternal Order of Police objects.
Richard Meadows is with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. He said the city’s criminalists have a very rare skill set.
“There are very few agencies around the country, in which a group of officers possess the entire crime scene skill set,” Meadows said. “The Cincinnati Police Department criminalistics unit should be viewed as a role model for other agencies wanting to achieve these same results.”
Meadows said he asks Cincinnati criminalists to instruct other officers around the state.
FOP President Kathy Harrell said two weeks ago the civilian plan, if approved, would be the biggest mistake in the police department’s history.
“You bring in civilians, you spend thousands of dollars to train them,” Harrell said. “They’re going to use Cincinnati as a stepping stone to move on and get that experience and get that free training and take it somewhere else.”
City Council will ultimately decide the issue when it approves the budget before the end of June.