The Cincinnati Collaborative Executive
The Collaborative Process
The six-stage Cincinnati collaborative process began with a focus on goal-setting about future relations between police and community in Cincinnati. The process was facilitated by The ARIA Group, Inc., with the active involvement of leaders from stakeholding groups to validate, monitor and champion the process. An advisory group consisting of representatives of The Black United Front, The ACLU, the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police and the City Administration, provided input and advice during the collaborative process. Judge Susan Dlott, of the U.S. Federal Court, oversaw the collaborative. Jay Rothman, Ph.D., president of The ARIA Group, was appointed Judge Dlott's Special Master to conduct this process.
Stage One: "Cincinnati Sings" (May 1, 2001 - July 1, 2001)
The project began with a broad public awareness campaign and an emphasis on outreach and relationship building with the media, as well as coordination with other similar efforts. The campaign was designed to explain the process of gathering visions from all sectors of Cincinnati for a better future for police-community relations and, more generally, race relations.
Stage Two: "Getting Out The Voice" (June 1 - August 31, 2001)
Information about goals was gathered by asking the following questions:
1) What are your goals for future police-community relations
2) Why are these goals important to you? (What experiences, values, beliefs
feelings influence your goals?)
3) How do you think your goals could be best achieved? (The more specific
your suggestions, the better.)
Responses were gathered through web-based on-line
questionnaires, paper and pencil questionnaires and
interviews. Individual identities and identifiers
remained confidential. The ARIA Group gathered thousands
of citizen responses, which were analyzed and organized
for presentation to feedback groups.
The ARIA Group launched this process on June 25th with a pilot group consisting of leaders of social service and religious organizations. Concurrently, work began to reach out to youth, particularly African-American youth and young adults, to encourage their early and positive engagement in this process. Also concurrently, a research process was launched, guided by University of Cincinnati Professor John Eck, for collecting current and best police practice data from around the country.
Stage Three: "Shared Visions" (July - November 2001)
Representatives from each of the eight stakeholding group
participated in one scheduled feedback session. Approximately10-25%
of those responding from each stakeholding group participated
in separate four-hour feedback sessions.
Feedback sessions consisted of carefully facilitated
small-group discussions regarding people's motivations
and values. A staff of some 30 volunteer
facilitator/interviewers expertly guided this process.
As part of the feedback sessions, these facilitated
dialogue groups enabled participants an opportunity
to express deeply held feelings and find resonance
with others in their group, as well as provide an
underlying value basis for constructive steps for
addressing the broader issues of race and
(For more information on the ARIA Group's approach to
addressing identity-based conflicts,
Following the small sessions, each group was provided
with a set of shared goals compiled from the ARIA
Group's analysis of their group's questionnaire
responses. Representatives from each group then
negotiated and reached agreement on their group's goals.
As of November 2001, the ARIA Group had reached the end of
the first half of the Cincinnati Collaborative Process work-plan.
In those months, The Aria Group generated a collaborative dynamic
to begin transforming the crisis of police-community relations -
that came to a head with the riots in April -
into an opportunity for positive change and improved relationships.
From June through October, data was collected by questionnaire from
more than 3,500 people representing all segments of the community,
including: African Americans, white citizens, leaders of religious
organizations and social service agencies, business leaders and
foundation professionals, educators, youth, police and their families,
city leadership and other minority persons.
Stage Four: Integration (November - December 2001)
After the feedback and dialogue process had been completed
with each stakeholding group, ARIA Group produced a set of
shared goals, as well as summaries of value statements and
motivations across all the groups. The sixty selected
representatives met in early December as the Integration
Group to review, prioritize and comment on the goals from
all stakeholding groups. The ARIA Group presented
this shared set of prioritized goals, motivations and suggestions,
along with the information on best practices gathered by the
Police Practices and Model Programs Research Group,
to the Settlement group, which overwhelmingly affirmed them.
The Integration Group was comprised of five to ten
representatives from each of the stakeholding groups.
The role of this group was to review the goals from
all stakeholding groups and reach agreement on them
(see following five project-level goals).
Police Officers and Community Members Will
Become Proactive Partners in Community Problem Solving
Second Goal: Build Relationships of Respect,
Cooperation and Trust Within and Between
Police and Communities
Improve Education, Oversight, Monitoring,
Hiring Practices and Accountability of CPD
Ensure Fair, Equitable, and Courteous Treatment for All
Fifth Goal: Create Methods to Establish the
Public's Understanding of Police Policies and
Procedures and Recognition of Exceptional Service
in an Effort to Foster Support for the Police
The ARIA Group merged these goals and the
information on best practices gathered by its
research team and presented this material to
the settlement group to serve as the basis for
their collaborative settlement negotiations.
The stage was then set for developing a collaborative settlement outside of the courtroom.
The work remaining looked like this:
Stage Five: Negotiation (January 2002-April 2002)
Facilitated by ARIA, the Settlement Group, consisting of the
parties to the proposed lawsuit,
engaged in intensive work on negotiating a
Collaborative Settlement Agreement. See the full agreement
Stage Six: Approval and Implementation (April 2002-August 2002)
Once successful agreement was reached in the
negotiations, the Settlement Group submitted
the Collaborative Settlement Agreement to the
Federal Court for approval. In addition, it started
working with the stakeholder group representatives
and coordinating with other local efforts to bring the
settlement agreement back to the various stakeholders
for implementation at both
administrative and grassroots levels.
Through the participation of the 3500 citizens of Cincinnati in
the collaborative process, with all of this input and tremendous
source of creative ideas and commitment, the foundation was laid
for forging a long-term and participatory process to promote
constructive and grassroots-directed development aimed at improving
quality of life for all those who live and work in the city of Cincinnati.
This participation was rewarded on August 5th 2002, when Federal
Judge Susan Dlott approved and signed the Cincinnati Police-Community Relations Collaborative Settlement Agreement.