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21st Century Policing: Lessons from Cincinnati


Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago... Cities across America are in crisis, grappling with the need to enact meaningful reforms in the wake of a growing spotlight on the use of deadly force by police officers.

Cincinnati, once synonymous with broken policing, has been put forward as model for reform in all of these cities and more--thanks to more than a decade of hard, sustained work by a broad array of community organizations, police leaders, federal officials, academics, and many others.

We've convened a discussion with some of the key participants in Cincinnati's reforms. With others, they worked together to develop and implement the new approach to policing that has garnered such national attention. They'll be joined by a leader from the Detroit Police Department for reflections on what the lessons of Cincinnati might hold for communities here in Southeast Michigan and elsewhere.

Free and open to the public. Reception to follow. The event will be live web-streamed. Please visit this page on the day of the event for viewing access information.


Rev. Damon Lynch III, New Prospect Baptist Church, Cincinnati, OH. Community activist and former President of the Cincinnati Black United Front, which led the class action lawsuit against the Cincinnati Police Department.

James Whalen, former Assistant Chief, Cincinnati Police Department. Public Safety Director, University of Cincinnati.

Saul A. Green (BA '69, JD '72), independent federal monitor who oversaw implementation of the Cincinnati reforms. Litigation and Trial Group, Miller Canfield.

Professor John Eck (MPP '77), University of Cincinnati. Academic consultant for the reforms.

James White, Assistant Chief, Detroit Police Department


David Thacher, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning

Reuben Miller, Assistant Professor of Social Work; Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research

More about the Cincinnati police reforms:
How to Fix a Broken Police Department, by Alana Semuels. The Atlantic, May 2015

From the Panelists' Bios

Saul A. Green (BA '69, JD '72) is counsel in the Litigation and Trial Group of Miller Canfield. He rejoined the law firm in 2012 after serving as deputy mayor of the City of Detroit from 2008 to 2011. Prior to his appointment with the City of Detroit, in which he oversaw the police, fire, law, and homeland security departments, he was senior counsel and a member of Miller Canfield's Criminal Defense Group and Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, with a specialty in alternative dispute resolution, white-collar crime, and high-profile litigation. Professor Green was appointed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan by President William J. Clinton, and served in that capacity from May 1994 to May 2001. During his many years of public service, he has held the positions of Wayne County corporation counsel; chief counsel, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Detroit Field Office; and assistant U.S. attorney. He completed service as the independent monitor overseeing implementation of police reforms in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2009, he received the Dennis W. Archer Public Service Award, recognizing outstanding public service to the metropolitan Detroit region, from the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association. Professor Green received his law degree in 1972 from Michigan Law and a BA in pre-legal studies in 1969 from the University of Michigan.

Professor John Eck (MPP '77) earned his Ph.D. in criminology from the University of Maryland in 1994. Prior to that, he had worked on police reform for 17 years as Research Director of the Police Executive Research Forum. He is known for his work on investigations management, problem-oriented policing, and preventing crime at high crime places. Dr. Eck focuses on developing practical solutions to crime problems based on sound research and rigorous theory. In addition to publishing many academic papers, he has created numerous guides for police and others interested in preventing crime. In 2001, he assisted the Federal Court in negotiating a suit alleging racial discrimination in police enforcement practices. The result was the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement. Dr. Eck was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on police research and policy. He teaches courses on police effectiveness and preventing crime at places. When he has the time, he likes to sculpt granite and other hard rock.

Rev. Damon Lynch III is a lifetime resident of the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was educated in the Cincinnati Public School system and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cincinnati Bible College. He is presently the senior Pastor of the New Prospect Baptist Church located in the Over-the-Rhine area in Cincinnati.

He is a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois. He has conducted workshops and seminars throughout the United States to many organizations on the Asset-Based approach to problem solving and development.

His civic and community involvement includes serving as former President of the Cincinnati Black United Front, an organization that seeks to bring economic, social, political, and racial equality to the Greater Cincinnati community. He also led a group of organizations in the filing of a class action lawsuit against racial profiling in the City of Cincinnati. This lawsuit resulted in a historic landmark agreement between the Cincinnati Police Department, Fraternal Order of Police, City of Cincinnati, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Cincinnati Black United Front

Lt. Colonel James L. Whalen is Assistant Chief of the Cincinnati Police Department and Commander for the Office of Support Services. In this role he has direct responsibility for a number of units and sections including the Planning Section, Human Resources Section (includes Training and Recruiting), Technology and Systems Section, and the Crime Analysis and Problem Solving Unit. He is also the SWAT Commander. Lt. Colonel Whalen previously served in a number of leadership positions in the Cincinnati Police Department including as Patrol Bureau Commander, Resource Bureau Commander, and Investigations Bureau Commander. He has served in the Cincinnati Police Department since 1986 and also as an officer in Miami-Dade, Florida from 1982-1985.

He is a member of the International Association Chiefs of Police, the Police Executive Research Forum, the University of Cincinnati Policing Institute Advisory Board, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association Legal Liaison Advisory Committee. He is the 2005 recipient of the Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Service from the Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitor's Bureau and a winner of the 2004 President's Star Award from the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. Lt. Colonel Whalen earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and a JD from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police offered by the Police Executive Research Forum.

James White has served as an assistant police chief with the Detroit Police Department since February 2013. He began his career with the DPD in June 1996 and has served in multiple roles, including deputy chief, commander, lieutenant, sergeant and police officer. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Wayne State University and is completing a master's degree in counseling from Central Michigan University.

Reuben J. Miller is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research. He is broadly interested in criminal justice and social welfare policy, race and ethnic relations, and the urban poor. His research, writing, and community involvement have focused on the lives and livelihoods of former prisoners as they attempt to reenter their respective home communities, and the health effects of contemporary punishment and urban poverty policy on groups stratified by race, class, and region.

David Thacher is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning. His research aims to develop and apply humanistic approaches to policy research. He is particularly interested in the use of case study and narrative analysis to clarify the ethical foundations of public policy. He has carried out this research primarily in criminal justice policy, where he has undertaken studies of order maintenance policing, the local police role in homeland security, community policing reform, the distribution of safety and security, and prisoner re-entry. Outside of criminal justice, he has also conducted research on urban planning and on adoption policy. He is currently writing a book about humanistic policy research.

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