Farewell To Chief Craig

James E. CraigIt is hard to believe that I published a blog article on August 4th, 2011 welcoming the new police Chief to Cincinnati. Now after just over 22 months I am writing another article to say farewell. But since this is his last day I work, I feel compelled to issue his report card. First I would like to state that I feel that James E. Craig is just exactly what the Cincinnati Police Department needed following the 12 year reign of terror by the last administration . There was no way to go but up, the question is how well did he do? I have opted to take upon my self the mission of providing for you, at no extra charge, the Phoenix’s final evaluation of Police Chief James E. Craig.

Morale: I think Chief Craig did an assessment and was able to quickly determine what was most broke in the Police Department and fix that first. He provided a number of quick changes designed to improved morale. Among them was the ability to communicate directly with the chief, via any venue including email and Facebook. This was not so popular with some of the higher ranking command officers who had never worked outside the “chain of command” model, but it was very effective in improving morale. Other changes such as implementing ten-hour work days, hats being optional, and a less restrictive uniform procedure were quick wins and morale boosters. For improving morale I rate Chief Craig as “Exceeds Expectations”.

Appeal To The Public: Chief Craig was an immediate hit to the citizens of Cincinnati. He was well liked and implemented a number of programs for youths. He was highly visible (in contrast to the last chief) and the public was confident he was there and on the job. For Appeal to the Public I rate the Chief “Exceeds Expectations”.

Traditionalism: There are a number of things that are traditionally Cincinnati Police. I think a number of changes made by Chief Craig attacked the identity of the Cincinnati Police Department and made it more like Los Angeles. As an example, the uniforms identified Cincinnati Police Officers for many years.  Changing the uniform to “LA Blue” stripped that identity from the organization. Renaming many bureaus and sections to mimic their counterparts in Los Angeles also did not set well with me. It was confusing and not indicative of what the mission of the Bureau was about. Fortunately he left before our cops started driving around in Black and Whites and the districts were renamed to divisions. For Traditionalism I rate the Chief “Does Not Meet Expectations”

Loyalty: When Chief Craig took the first opportunity to jump ship and move on to a better offer it indicated he had fostered no loyalty the Cincinnati Police Department. And why should he? He had no reason to be loyal to an organization that he had no history with, no ties, no affiliations. By his refusal to be properly accredited as a Cincinnati. Police Officer he demonstrated early on he was not interested in being part of the Department Remember also, he was the only Police Officer who was afforded a pay raise during his tenure. It would have spoken volumes if he had declined the raise. Leaving before the job was done also shows his lack of loyalty to the Department For Loyalty, my rating is “Does Not Meet Expectations”.

In summary, his performance here was no more than mundane. When his picture goes up on the wall he will be remembered, but he will not be remembered as one of the great chiefs who made a difference, because he did not. I would have to give him an overall rating of “Did Not Meet Expectations”.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like Chief Craig.  He is truly a professional.  I would have liked him better had he stayed longer.  I wish Chief Craig well. He has taken on an onerous task to become the Chief of crime ridden city such as Detroit. I don’t think it will take him very long to realize how good he had it here in Cincinnati,  not very long at all.


Those are my thoughts, what are yours?


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Tom Lind

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  1. Dan McDonaldJune 22, 2013

    Very good analysis Tom, however, you were much kinder than I would have been. His ripping apart all the traditions, conservative values and strict moral standards of the Department can and will never be repaired. He has done grievous and everlasting damage. I say Good Riddance.

  2. judy aka judi aka judithJune 22, 2013

    Interesting blog wonder what the new chief will bring to the city? Hopefully healing in and out of the police dept

  3. Eric FranzJune 22, 2013

    Well written and it truly hits the nail on the head on all levels.

    For those of us still here, it’s been a remarkable transformation where he forced upper level management to behave Iike human beings. No more berating of the troops, playing favorites or making decisions based on what school a person graduated from.

    In the past decisions were made based on how it used to be when Chief or Colonel so and so worked the street. Things have changed and this was one person who understood we needed to change to. He listened to what the troops on the street were seeing and dealing with before making executive decrees.

    Finally he’s put some good people in place to carry the movement forward. People who don’t think rank brings respect, but rather respect is earned.

    Great review my friend.

    Peace -E


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