Red white and blue police badge with eagle at top and Santa Maria in the middle with words Columbus Ohio police

Chief Jacobs is Out

So, Chief Kim Jacobs is leaving her post a few months earlier than previously expected – on February 8, 2019.

The Chief hasn’t been on the job since late October and the department has been operating under acting deputy chiefs. Officially her absence is explained by knee replacement surgery, but that didn’t stop Jacobs from showing up in full regalia at the Michigan-OSU game on November 24.

A Checkered Career

Unlike the Buckeyes, Jacobs had a really bad year.

The Department’s spokesperson was arrested on child pornography charges.

Three members of her Vice Squad were relieved of duty and in an unprecedented move, no doubt with pressure from the Columbus Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr., Jacobs called in the FBI to investigate Columbus Vice.

A week or so prior to Vice Officer Andrew Mitchell’s controversial shooting death of Donna Dalton in his cruiser, a citizen complaint had come in against Mitchell that he was exchanging sex for rent at one of the apartments he owns.

Pettus overturned Jacobs’ decision to fire Lieutenant Melissa McFadden, an African American, for allegedly creating a hostile and racially divisive work environment.

There are at least seven civil rights lawsuits against the Columbus Police Department regarding race and sex discrimination.

Chief Jacobs was plagued with controversy the last few years of her tenure.

Chief Jacobs admitted that the Department “inadvertently deleted” 100,000 hours of dashcam video in 2017.

Safety Director Pettus overturned Jacobs’ three-day suspension of Officer Zach Rosen for kicking a black man in the head, and fired him.

At the 2017 Pride Parade, despite orders to the contrary, Columbus Police attacked black, LGTBQi demonstrators, arresting the Black Pride 4.

Several Columbus police were caught using racial slurs on the job.

Protestors took over a Columbus City Council meeting to demand justice for two young black men, Henry Green and Tyre King, killed by Columbus Police – and called for Chief Jacobs’ firing.

The ACLU filed a suit against police officers who targeted Black Lives Matter activists by spraying pepper gas in their faces.

Who will be the next Chief of Police?

Jacobs is finally doing the community a service by leaving in early February instead of April. The Department is rife with nepotism, favoritism, and currently has little or no accountability in the chain of command. The deputy chiefs are all powerful and seem to be able to do whatever they want.

Mayor Andrew  Ginther is correct in demanding a national search and insisting upon the next police chief being a “change agent.” More than anything else, the Free Press still advocates for a civilian police review board that monitors and assesses the police use of force. The Department needs to end the culture of corruption. They need to hire a diverse, well-educated group of police officers.

One of my first teaching jobs was with a program that provided money for law enforcement officers to go to college. I taught night classes for police officers on American Political Thought, including the U.S. Constitution. I was stunned at how little my students knew about the document they had taken an oath to uphold.

The new police chief in Columbus crafts a police department that is dedicated to the principles of our country’s rule of law.


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