Bob Rack is the Co-Founder of Beyond Civility and the retired Chief Circuit Mediator at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
At 3:00 AM, a College Hill resident awoke to a crash and loud voices. A car had hit a poll on her residential street and four young men got out yelling and threatening to fight with each other. The resident watched as two summoned police officers arrived. A quiet conversation ensued and the four men got back in the car and left without further incident.
This could have gone many different ways, but it ended peacefully. No significant damage, no fights, no arrests. The resident was impressed and the next day took a plate of homemade cookies to the precinct station with a note to say thanks for a job well done.
Less than a week later a note arrived from Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell thanking the resident by name for “taking the time to send the kind words regarding the professional and efficient services provided by officers [he named the officers] during a recent call for service in your community.” The note went on to express the Department’s commitment “to enhancing the quality of life for all those who live, work and visit any of the fifty-two neighborhoods of our great city!”
The resident was impressed once again.
. . . . . .
A few weeks ago, Chief Blackwell appeared at a Beyond Civility Side-by-Side with Sheriff Jim Neil. He spoke passionately of the importance of police knowing not just the criminals in their districts but the law abiding citizens whose support he believes is important. Sending that note was an action that amplified his words, it created a personal connection between himself, the named officers and the citizen.
Chief Blackwell went beyond civility.