The Office of Safety and Reform was created in 2015 following the officer-involved shooting of Samuel DuBose. Dr. Robin S. Engel, PhD, renowned criminal justice researcher, led the office as the Vice President of Safety and Reform. Dr. Engel was responsible for the Department of Public Safety and the reform efforts of the UC Police Division until the end of December 2018.
The office worked to increase trust, open communication and cooperation between the UCPD and members of the university and its neighboring communities, and to establish a culture of transparency, legitimacy, fairness, collaboration, inclusion, diversity and innovation within the UCPD. The ultimate goal of the office was to transform the UCPD into a national model for excellence in urban university policing.
Dr. Engel was appointed to lead the reform efforts of the UCPD in August 2015. That same month, James L. Whalen, a former Lieutenant Colonel with the Cincinnati Police Department, joined as UC's Director of Public Safety and S. Gregory Baker, former Executive Director of the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, was hired as Director of Police Community Relations. Director Baker remained in his position until late 2018. Colonel Maris Herold, Police Chief, oversaw the daily operations of the UCPD until she resigned in the spring of 2020. Chief Herold assisted Dr. Engel, Director Whalen and Director Baker with the development and implementation of reform efforts.
The Office of Safety and Reform was responsible for:
- Coordinating all investigations and reviews of the UC Police Division;
- Ensuring UC Police engage in fair and impartial policing to rebuild community trust;
- Enhancing the legitimacy of UCPD policing practices;
- Coordinating the Safety and Reform Community Advisory Council;
- And improving diversity and equity within the UCPD.
The Department of Public Safety will maintain and continue all efforts by the Office of Safety and Reform following the dissolution of the office in December 2018.