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Howard Rahtz

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In August of 2005, Howard Rahtz was promoted to Captain on the Cincinnati Police Department.  He holds a BA in business administration and a master's degree in counseling; and, he also completed the program at Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command and the Law Enforcement Foundation's Police Executive Leadership College. In 1988 Howard Rahtz joined the Cincinnati Police Department.  He has held progressively responsible law enforcement and leadership positions within the police department.  Prior to his promotion, he was the Cincinnati Police Department’s coordinator for the SWAT Crisis Negotiations Team.

Outside of his department career he is an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati and the Tri-State Regional Community Policing Institute;  a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association; and, editor of their Use of Force Journal. Captain Howard Rahtz has authored five books on law enforcement: Understanding Police Use of Force and Community Policing: A Handbook for Beat Cops and Supervisors, Race, Riots, and the Police, Shots Fired: Gun Violence in the Untied States and Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment.

According to the book description of Race, Riots, and the Police, "Reflected almost daily in headlines, the enormous rift between the police and the communities they serve―especially African American communities―remains one of the major challenges facing the United States. And race-related riots continue to be a violent manifestation of that rift. Can this dismal state of affairs be changed? Can the distrust between black citizens and the police ever be transformed into mutual respect? Howard Rahtz addresses this issue, first tracing the history of race riots in the US and then drawing on both the lessons of that history and his own first-hand experience to offer a realistic approach for developing and maintaining a police force that is a true community partner."

According to the book description of, Shots Fired: Gun Violence in the Untied States, "Mass killings. Gang violence. Street crimes. Suicides. Accidental shootings. The United States is enduring a literal epidemic of gun violence. Howard Rahtz, drawing on decades of experience as a police officer all too familiar with the horrors that guns can cause, delves deeply into the nature and impact of this epidemic. Rahtz explores each element of the triangle of ability, desire, and opportunity that typically characterizes gun violence. Going further, he also suggests practical, "left of bang" preventative actions―steps that could limit the violence while respecting contentious Second Amendment rights."

According to the book description of Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment, "Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” Since that time, the country has incarcerated thousands of citizens and spent billions of dollars, and yet the drug problem rolls on. Today, the illegal drug market funds international terrorism, the horrific drug war on the Mexican border, and the senseless violence plaguing our communities, large and small. It is past time for a new direction. This book provides a drug policy framework that will choke off the revenue supporting the illegal drug market. Howard Rahtz outlines a series of drug policy steps buttressed by a historical review of drug policy measures, a review of international efforts against trafficking, and a clear understanding of the dynamics of addiction and its role in facilitating the illegal drug market."

According to the book description of Understanding Police Use of Force, “This even-handed and comprehensive discussion is intended to facilitate informed discussion among citizens, police and students on the use of force in law enforcement. Topics include: definitions; the legal framework; options for the use of force; steps to minimze the use of force; what to do when the worst happens; the racial divide; and towards better policy and understanding.”  Of the book, Ed Nowicki (The Use of Force Journal) stated, “A very good book that should be the concern of every officer from line officer to supervisor.”

One reader of Understanding Police Use of Force said, “Howard Rahtz has written a very perceptive, thoughtful piece on the appropriate use of force in police situations. He brings in examples that can only come from years of experience in the field, and he makes you think about how the use and threat of force is part and parcel of everyday police work. He points out that in many situations cops should think about their actions, even when ordinary citizens would not think twice about whether police force was appropriate.”


According to the book description of Community Policing: A Handbook for Beat Cops and Supervisors, “This practical and clearly written manual explains the advantages and "how to" of effective community policing. Lt. Rahtz describes many examples of successful community policing, drawn from his own distinguished career as a Cincinnati police officer and manager, and from the research literature.

In community policing, patrol officers enlist community members as partners in solving local problems that breed crime and disorder. This does not mean that community policing is the same as "social work," "public relations" or being "soft on crime." To the contrary, working cooperatively with the community can help patrol officers become more effective in preventing and solving crimes. And community policing is usually more satisfying and less frustrating for the cop on the beat than the "treadmill" of chasing radio calls.


Community policing is neither complicated nor difficult to put into practice, according to Lt. Rahtz. The author offers step-by-step guidance for forging productive partnerships between patrol officers and community members. He then illustrates the use of problem-solving methods in community policing, and outlines the key supporting roles played by police supervisors and administrators. A wealth of suggestions and resources are provided to illustrate how officers can get started with effective community policing.”



One reader of Community Policing: A Handbook for Beat Cops and Supervisors said, “Howard Rahtz has made community policing accessible for the beat cop. His handbook cites real-world examples of how community policing works. He also cites research to back the examples, but he doesn't get bogged down in statistics or academics. This is a primer. Every new cop should read this in the police academy. Every veteran cop should too. And supervisors should refer to it regularly.


I've taught community policing classes for years. This handbook does in less than 150 pages what I've tried to get done in hours and hours of classes. This handbook explains in simple terms that community policing is a philosophy of action. It makes the SARA model of problem solving easy to understand. Howard Rahtz obviously knows his topic and he writes in easy to read, street cop language. This book doesn't belong on the shelf. It should be on your desk, in your briefcase, or in your hands. And it should be read by every community leader, from the elected officials to those volunteers who are so vital to making community policing work.”


About the Cincinnati Police Department

The Cincinnati Police Department currently employs 1057 sworn law enforcement officers and 281 civilian employees; and, provides primary law enforcement services to the citizens of the City of Cincinnati.  The Chief of Police holds the rank of colonel and is responsible for the Police Department's operation which is divided among five Bureaus: Administration,  Patrol,  Resource,  Information Management, and Investigations.


Since 1990, the Cincinnati Police Department has been committed to and embraced the Community Oriented Policing Philosophy, implementing such programs as: Computer Aided Dispatching; Community Orientated Police Training; School Resource Officers; Drug Abuse Resistance Education; Mountain Bike Patrol; Citizens Police Academy; Student Police Academy; and, Cincinnati Neighborhood Action Strategy.


Cincinnati has made many forward strides with regard to Community Policing and in 1995, the Ohio Crime Prevention Association awarded the Cincinnati Police Department with the "Outstanding Ohio Community Policing Initiative" award, giving credit to the Department for the many programs instituted to promote the Community Oriented Policing philosophy. Cincinnati also received the "COPS MORE GRANT" from the Federal Government which has further expanded the COP philosophy by adding additional personnel to meet the growing needs of the community.




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