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UC Makes New Appointments to Focus on Police Reform and Community Relations

In ongoing reform of campus policing, UC today introduced two new members of the campus community: James Whalen as director of public safety, and S. Gregory Baker as director of police community relations.

Date: 8/10/2015 11:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

UC ingot   University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono has approved the appointment of two new positions related to safety and policing.

James Whalen, who will begin as UC’s Director of Public Safety effective Sept. 8, 2015, has served with the Cincinnati Police Department since 1986, most recently as assistant police chief.

S. Gregory Baker, who will begin his role as UC’s Director of Police Community Relations effective Sept. 8, 2015, previously served as Executive Director of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) as well as the Executive Manager of Community Relations, both positions with the Cincinnati Police Department.

Both Whalen and Baker will report to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Robert Ambach, with a dotted line to President Ono. Current UC Chief of Police Jason Goodrich will remain in his role and will focus on reform of the police department as well as other ongoing campus needs related to Title IX, Clery compliance and more.

Whalen, Baker and Goodrich will work collaboratively with UC’s recently appointed Vice President for Safety and Reform Robin Engel to implement evidence-based, data-driven policing and strengthen relationships between UC Police and the Cincinnati community.

“These individuals are the best people to move the University of Cincinnati forward on our promise to change and become best in class in university policing,” said President Ono. “Both James Whalen and Greg Baker are highly respected, are well connected in the community, have direct and longtime experience in community policing in Cincinnati, and will help us build bridges with all of our partners. I look forward to working with them in the days and months ahead.”
Headshot of James Whalen
James Whalen

James Whalen brings more than 32 years of police and safety experience with him as he joins the University. Whalen has most recently served in the Cincinnati Police Department as Assistant Police Chief, commanding the Investigations Bureau.  As an assistant police chief for the past 10 years, Whalen has experience in managing every facet of a police department. 

In a command role, Whalen has led several significant change management projects, including a complete assessment and reorganization of the Investigations Bureau; transition of the Cincinnati Police Department to a problem-solving philosophy as a primary strategy; implementation of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence; and the introduction of data analysis as a guide to patrol deployment. Additionally, Whalen served on a 2008-09 project team (with former UC Chief Gene Ferrara) sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Major Cities Chiefs’ Association to develop "Campus Security Guidelines," a publication to assist universities in working cooperatively with major cities.

Whalen was promoted to assistant chief following his tenure as the District 1 Commander following the civil unrest of 2001.  This occurred at a time when many stakeholders in the City considered leaving, and Whalen successfully led efforts to restore confidence in policing within the central business district.

Whalen’s most significant accomplishment as an assistant police chief, was his work (with Greg Baker) implementing the requirements of the Collaborative Agreement, and the success derived in doing so led to the end of the extended federal monitoring of CPD in 2007.  Whalen has been a strong influence on the Cincinnati Police Department’s ability to successfully increase and maintain compliance with the Collaborative Agreement, which has received significant positive attention on a national scale.

Said Whalen, “I look forward to joining the University of Cincinnati team and assisting with the many challenges that exist.  Public safety at a major University is a complex matter, and it must be accomplished with an overriding sense of equity, integrity and transparency in a manner that allows the University to be an effective partner and a good neighbor to the entire community.”

S. Gregory Baker has over thirty years of progressively responsible local government leadership experience in the fields of law enforcement (specifically police-community relations), community development, economic development and workforce development. Baker will leave his current position as Executive Director of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). He has served as senior advisor to the New Haven Project Longevity (violence reduction strategy),  the Oakland Police Department, the New Orleans Gun Violence Reduction Strategy, and more.
Head shot of Greg Baker
S. Gregory Baker

From 2002-11, Baker served as the Executive Manager of Community Relations for the Cincinnati Police Department, a civilian position equivalent to that of an assistant police chief. In that role, he was responsible for the development and implementation of strategies to reduce crime and improve police community relations. He successfully implemented strategies including community problem-oriented policing (problem solving), intelligence-led policing (empirical, data-driven policing) and a violence reduction strategy (CIRV).

When Baker accepted the role of Executive Manager of Community Relations, it was a newly created position to coordinate the implementation of police reforms as mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice. As such, he served as the department’s compliance officer, managed revisions to the use of force policy, managed the development and utilization of a computerized personnel risk management system, managed the development and use of systems to collect and analyze traffic stop data for racial profiling assessments, managed the establishment of the Citizens Complaint Authority (a civilian oversight board) and worked to establish the Community Police Partnering Center.

These efforts resulted in significant reductions in use of force, citizen complaints, injuries to officers and citizens, and significant improvements in police-community relations.

Between 1980 and 2001, Baker served in a variety of municipal roles. These include service as Assistant to the City Manager in 2001-02, where he represented the city administration in negotiating the Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and in negotiating the Collaborative Agreement.

On UC's campus today, Baker said, "I'm excited. I'm looking forward to working with my new well as new colleagues and associates at the university. My participation insures that the community will have a strong voice at the table and that the process will be transparent and credible."