Internationally Respected Criminal Justice Researcher Named UC's New VP for Safety and Reform

University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono today announced that he has appointed internationally respected criminal justice researcher Robin Engel to the new role of vice president for safety and reform.

In her new role, Engel will coordinate the multiple external investigations and reviews planned for the University of Cincinnati Police Department, making use of her expertise in data-driven assessment and policy reform in order to work with external reviewers.

This appointment is effective immediately, and Engel’s first steps in her new role will be to seek out an external reviewer to conduct a top-to-bottom assessment of the UCPD, as promised by President Ono.

She will also work with Kroll Inc. As announced on July 31, Kroll will conduct an extensive internal review of all aspects related to the July 19 officer-involved shooting that led to the death of Samuel DuBose.

“I am fully committed to making any needed changes to our UC Police Department. We will leave no stone unturned and wherever the facts take us, we will make changes as warranted,” said President Ono. “We want to create a university police department that is a model for the nation, and Robin Engel is the best person to lead us forward in this effort.”


  • Important note: In her new role, Engel will not oversee or supervise UC Public Safety. The current leadership structure for Public Safety remains in place.


Engel, professor and director of the Institute of Crime Science, has worked alongside those involved in the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement since 2005. She also helped develop the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), a multi-agency and community collaborative effort. In addition, her expertise has been sought after and used by municipal, state and international law enforcement agencies for nearly two decades.

Also, in that time, she has established academic-practitioner partnerships and conducted statistical research and assessments related to police behavior, police/minority relations, police supervision and management, police use of force, criminal justice policies and more.

Throughout her career, Engel has worked closely with community activists and groups as well as police agencies, often working directly to foster improved relationships between them.

According to Engel, “My timeline is ambitious. We will begin the work today. This effort will involve the coordination and input from many stakeholders in our community, listening and building relationships and, most importantly, trust. Part of rebuilding community trust is by creating police legitimacy. We will focus on collaborations in campus and municipal policing guided by data-driven practices that are effective, fair and equitable.”

In her new role, Engel will report directly to President Ono and will focus on


  • Coordinating all investigations and reviews of the UC Police Department.



  • Establishing and coordinating a UC Community Advisory Group modeled after city reform efforts resulting from the Collaborative Agreement.



  • Assisting in the implementation of changes in UCPD policies, procedures, and practices using  evidence-based reforms.



  • Coordinating changes and updates in police training.



  • Helping to improve diversity and inclusion within UCPD.



  • Examining and implementing changes in the complaint process, along with supervisory oversight and managerial practices with the UCPD.



  • Rebuilding community trust by enhancing the legitimacy of UCPD policing practices.


Engel’s research work in racial profiling, her efforts with the Cincinnati Collaborative and CIRV have taken her around the globe, and has, in turn, brought the world to Cincinnati. For instance, police representatives from the Metropolitan Police Service in London and the Police Service of Scotland visited Cincinnati to study the CIRV model, and the model has been adopted by police forces as close as right here in Ohio and as far away as Europe and Australia.

Engel is a faculty member in UC'’s top-ranked School of Criminal Justice, part of the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. UC’s criminal justice program is ranked No. 3 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.


  • See UC's site related to the July 19 officer-involved shooting.


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