CINCINNATI — Nearing the end of his first year on the job, Cincinnati’s police chief is still refusing to take an Ohio-required test.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in today’s editions that Chief James Craig and the city received documents last July about the test he must pass to earn full police powers in Ohio. It also reports that the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy twice rescheduled the test, and said he could take it at the Cincinnati Police Academy instead of coming to the state academy near Columbus.

But Craig in February informed state officials he wouldn’t take it, and he has appealed for a waiver.

“It’s fair to say we bent over backwards to try to accommodate Chief Craig and his schedule,” said Justin Hykes, an assistant state attorney general representing the state academy.

Craig said he didn’t realize initially how extensive the test is. Police recruits who receive weeks of basic training must take the test to be able to make arrests, serve warrants and other full police duties.

Craig, who was sworn in Aug. 2, said with three-plus decades of police experience in other states, his time here has been better spent learning his new community and officers, leading his department and working to reduce crime. He served in Detroit and Los Angeles police departments, and had been chief in Portland, Maine, for two years when he was hired by Cincinnati in 2011.


He said the state requirement is behind the times and puts unfair and unnecessary obstacles before out-of-state police leadership candidates by mandating they take a test recruits have after 582 hours of training.

“Some people have asked ‘What type of leadership example are you setting?'” Craig said, adding: “I’m setting a good one, because I believe in principle, and when wronged, you should fight.”

Craig last year completed 30-hour Ohio law training and handgun re-qualification requirements.

Craig can continue to lead the department, although some people are uncomfortable with a chief who doesn’t have Ohio police certification.

“It’s probably better to stop the controversy and take the test,” said Chris Seelbach, a city councilman. “That doesn’t mean we should stop pursuing clarity with the state legislature. But the chief needs to be doing the jobs of the police chief.”

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