Dan Hils: A Champion of the Law Enforcment Community

Also: Take 20: Replacement Property Tax Levies - HB344

EmpowerU Studio at Frame USA
225 Northland Blvd
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246
Thursday, March 7, 2024

Hear from Retired FOP Officer Dan Hils on the Status and Concerns of the Cincinnati Police Department.

Dan Hils is concerned about the current status of keeping control of law and order. He will discuss what he sees to be the present trends in the ability of the police to achieve their ultimate duty:  to keep citizens safe while protecting the Constitutional rights of those who threaten that safety. He will enlighten us about his experiences, both as president of the FOP and as a police officer.

Dan spent his career enforcing law and order. He recently retired from nearly 35 years of service with the Cincinnati Police Department and 8 years as president of the Fraternal Order of Police. During his FOP tenure, he proved himself to be an outspoken advocate for the approximately 1000 officers and 1,700 retired officers he represented. He proved himself to be a fighter on behalf of his ‘cops,’ advocating for them when they were treated unfairly, as well as in matters regarding their working conditions and the safeguards provided for them for their own safety.

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In 2017, when he believed one of his officers was being unfairly treated by civil rights leaders and prosecutors, he, with approval of his FOP members, pulled the union out of negotiations to update the Collaborative Agreement.  His adversary in the negotiations, civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein, praised Dan, saying that Hils’ “own personal path has been all about demonstrating tremendous respect for the community.”  Further, Gerhardstein said that Dan “knows how to talk to people when they aren’t being reasonable. He prevents violence. When he’s out on the street, he’s engaged as a police officer in a lot of exemplary ways.”   Dan will be with us from 7:30-8:30 PM.

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Many bills written can be confusing to the public. Greg Lawon from Ohio Buckeye Institute will clarify HB344 which eliminates the authority of political subdivisions to levy replacement property tax levies, beginning with elections held on or after October 1, 2024.

Under current law, a subdivision may propose a replacement levy to extend the term of an existing levy.  A replacement levy is imposed at the same original millage rate of the levy it is replacing.  By contrast, subdivisions may also propose renewal levies, which extend the term of an existing levy at its current effective millage rate.   Greg will be with us from 7:05-7:25 PM.

Speaker Bios:

Dan Hils was born and raised on the west side of Hamilton County, graduated from Elder High School in 1984 and entered the Army that year. His duty station was West Germany, where he served as a Military Police Officer. Shortly after his discharge from the Army, he entered the Cincinnati Police Academy, graduating in 1987. He was first stationed in District Four, and then moved to Districts Five and Three before being transferred to the Personal Crimes Unit as a detective. From there he was promoted to Specialist and then to Sergeant.

A year later, he was transferred to the K9 squad, which he loved. He spent nearly 15 years there. After banging heads with police administration, he found himself back on patrol in the very busy District Three dealing with the heroin epidemic. While working in District Three, he won election as the president of the Cincinnati FOP.

Since his retirement, he has continued police work as an auxiliary officer for Amberley Village, as well as running security for a couple of private schools. He also works with some great attorneys at Front Line Advisors, which provides legal advice and representation to law enforcement personnel. Front Line Advisors currently represents two FOPs:  Middletown and Fairfield, as well as the Hamilton County corrections deputies.

In his personal life, Dan’s wife, Stephanie, is a retired police detective. He has a son, Alex, from his first marriage. He lost his daughter, Meghan, to congenital heart and lung issues when she was 18. Stephanie has two adult children, Hannah and Jacob.

Dan has described his philosophy about his life’s work as endeavoring not to be judgmental, to listen to every side of an issue, and then to see what he can do to solve the problem. In 2020, amid ongoing protests against police violence and calls for police reform, Dan Hils submitted a question to Cincinnati City Council:  whether they were going to join the anti-police protestors or whether they would give the police benefit of the doubt. In describing his cops,’ Dan said that they “prove day in and day out that they believe lives matter because they risk themselves, they risk their lives. And I don’t like it when they are treated unfairly.”

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Greg R. Lawson is a Research Fellow at The Buckeye Institute.

In this role, Lawson works with all members of the Buckeye research team with a particular focus on local government and education issues. He is also Buckeye’s main liaison to the statehouse where he educates policymakers in both the legislative and executive branches on free-market solutions to Ohio’s challenges.

Prior to his position at Buckeye, Lawson served in the Ohio General Assembly as a Legislative Service Commission Fellow. He then went on to several government affairs roles focusing on numerous public policy topics, including Medicaid, school choice, transportation funding, and Ohio’s Building Code. He also has a background in PAC fundraising, grassroots organizing, and communications and served for five years on the boards of two Columbus-based charter schools.