Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cincinnati Policing


Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at

May 21, 2015


                It has been my experience that just when I am looking for particular examples of peacemaking, they come to me.  That was the case recently with the story of policing in Richmond, CA, that I blogged about.  I have further found that what I notice away from home comes close to home if I’m looking for it.  This morning, the locally broadcast BBC “Newshour” contained a segment on the style of policing introduced by a chief who had retired from the force in my home city, Columbus, Ohio.  It turns out that the BBC has a series of three video reports on how police in Cincinnati work, at .  Here, too, is a report from Cincinnati on the visit two days ago by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, to celebrate policing there as an exemplary police response to their own “broken window” policing: .

                It is not that Cincinnati policing is utopian.  It is acknowledged to be a work in progress.  While the initiative (rather than cooperation) that reorients policing toward public safety and welfare surely also comes from community groups and organizations.

                Once again, it is an irony that I have had to go abroad to find out what has been going on right around me all along.   It reflects an underlying truth:  The heat of violence and demands for punishment is so much louder than the fruits of peacemaking.  At root, peacemaking means amplifying the voices and stories less heard in the games of attaining power over other we play in all our relations, especially in the minds of those of us who hold the greater power, in the process of building trust in our shared humanity.  It turns out that if you make a point of looking for peacemaking, it might just find you.

                My thanks to the BBC for showing that peacemaking policing is real, with real effects, especially so close to home.  I encourage readers to check out the BBC trilogy, colleagues to share with students.  Love and peace, hal

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