This morning my shared taxi ride arrived at FAU about 9.15am, to take me to Fort Lauderdale airport and go to Cincinnati. There was one other man in the car when we left and then we picked up another older couple just outside Boca Raton. I could tell from the moment that the woman came into the cab that she was going to be very talkative and sociable, since her opening lines were ‘someone’s got nice cologne!’ As soon as I opened my mouth she started to ask me where I was from, and that started a long conversation. She told me she was age 66, half Italian and half American, she and her husband lived for two months of the year in Rome, several months in Florida and several months in other parts of the US. She then began to ask me all about Scottish independence. She then talked about the Queen and told me that Prince Harry had publicly announced this week that he had suffered from mental health issues for many years after his mother’s death (something I had not heard about) and that Theresa May had called a general election (something I also had not heard about – it’s amazing how out of touch I have become to what is going on in the UK!) She then went on to talk all about Trump and how much she dislikes him, how much she supported Hilary and loved Obama and had written a letter to him thanking him for all he had done. Meanwhile her husband kept completely quiet for the whole journey. By the time we got out the taxi at the airport I think I knew everything about her — it reminded me of being in Glasgow!
I got into the airport and had something to eat and drink and called Karen and Alan via FaceTime. I then got on the flight about 12.30pm. the flight was good and took about 2.5 hours, arriving in Cincinnati at 3pm. As we flew in, I felt nostalgic seeing the Ohio river again – it is 5 years since I was last here, in May 2012 when I was collecting data for my book ‘Policing Youth Violence – Transatlantic Connections’ which was eventually released in October 2013. At that time the CIRV project was being implemented by the Cincinnati Police Department and I spent time in the city observing police practice and conducting interviews with offenders and social service agents – and even got to observe a drug raid in the city.
I got a taxi to the house of Frank Cullen, Distinguished Professor of Criminology at the University of Cincinnati. I first met Frank when I was here for the first time in March 2011 and have continued to keep in touch with him and to meet up with him at American Society of Criminology conferences held in November each year. He is one of the top names in criminology across the world and a very kind, supportive guy – someone who is always interested in helping people and he has always taken a genuine interest in my work. He had kindly invited me to come and give a lecture at the University tomorrow and to stay with him and his wife Paula. His house is located about 30 minutes from the airport on the east side of the city. He greeted me in the drive as I pulled up and I went in and met his wife and their little Chihuahua dog. He showed me up to my room on the third floor of their house and then I went downstairs and had a chat with him. Frank is a huge tennis fan and so I was not surprised to see that he had the Monte Carlo Masters on TV. His favourite player is Federer but he also thinks that Murray is currently the best in the world. We chatted about tennis and also criminology and then we all got ready and got in the car to go to a local restaurant for 7pm. There we met Frank’s colleagues Jim Frank (who I remember meeting before in 2011 and 12) and another of his newer colleagues from the university called Cory Haberman. We had a lovely meal from a specialised ‘restaurant’s favourite’ menu whereby you got shared flatbreads to share and then salad, followed by an entree and then two sweets. Delicious!
We had a good chat during dinner, and I learned that the CIRV project is no longer operating. Lots of changes have taken place within the Cincinnati Police Department since I was last here, and the number of shootings in the city has recently spiked. Robin Engel, who I worked with closely when I was doing my research here, is still in the University but doing a different job and is out of town this week so I will not see her. Dan Gerard, who was the Captain at the police department when I worked here, is now employed at the university but is also out of town.
Frank, Paula and I left everyone at 9.30 and drove back to their house. Tomorrow, I am looking forward to returning to the University of Cincinnati and hopefully seeing a little bit of the city in passing.