Black man deep in conversation

Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant, the only other candidate from Seattle, 

The decision is now entirely up to Columbus Mayor Ginther. But, if the community’s response to the Police Chief auditions held at East High on November 21 was any indication, it is certain that Seattle Assist Police Chief was the clear preference of the over 400 people who gathered to hear their pitches.

The Acting (pro tem) Chief, Thomas Quinlan, who has 30 years in the Columbus Police Department wanted the public aware of his accomplishments for the last 286 days of his tenure of Acting Chief: “I know this community and how to build relationships with it. Now is not the time to change leadership.”

Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant, the only other candidate from Seattle, made it clear that he has been a change agent wherever he has served. “I know how to change systems and practices. The police have an obligation to be respectful of all cultures. The community’s voice is important and what gets done is to ‘deed’ those voices within the community.”

Tarrant bases his police work on three issues: inclusion, transparency and accountability. Tarrant, a black man, is the past president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

The audience was very receptive to Tarrant’s vision and enthusiastically applauded his presentation.

Quinlan, whose ideas were politely acknowledged by the crowd, stated that the causes of crime in Columbus are mental health issues, poverty and addictions. His focus on the job would be: change, innovation, and excellence. But he did not elaborate how that would affect his policies. He cited new youth programs and new enforcement against aggressive pan-handlers as evidence of good policing.

Tarrant emphasized two important challenges of policing in Columbus: restructuring the system so more policing occurs in all neighborhoods; and new training focusing on how to competently interact with various cultures, because he said, training should mirror what the community wants.

Quinlan countered that under his watch there will be no tolerance for bigotry, swift justice to those who abuse citizens and there will be no room for bias. Under his leadership there will be better diversity in hiring. Quinlan also said he approves of a Citizen Review Board of the police, and surprisingly has solicited City Council to submit names of citizen who could serve on this board.

Tarrant concluded by reiterating the need for diversity within the force and the need for good mental health practices. He would see that clinical psychologists would be on the force to evaluate candidates and officers and to provide urgent care for trauma-related incidents.

The assembled citizens were very receptive towards Perry Tarrant’s vision of policing in Columbus. It was plain that they preferred the outsider’s proposal over the present beleaguered police force that has faced many accusations of abuse and excessive violence in recent years.

Community leaders are advocating for Tarrant with an #OutsideChiefForChangemovement, encouraging Columbus residents to call the Mayor to express their opinions on the new chief: Bishop Dr. Donald J. Washington Jr., Ms. Adrienne Hood (mother of Henry Green, slain by Columbus Police), Minister Donnell Muhammad, Rev. Susan K. Smith, Rev. Dr. Jeffrey P. Kee, others in 'Faith in Public Life,' and even some black Columbus police officers. There’s a billboard sponsored by the Interfaith Leaders of Columbus telling the public to call and tell the Mayor to “Hire a Police Chief who will be fair, ethical, & community focused!”

Now the Mayor must make his choice. Hopefully, for once, he will not consult with the local “Titans” whom he seemingly receives his marching orders, but will listen to the people.

Change or stay the course. Columbus’ decision for destiny.

Call Mayor Ginther to voice your opinion on the Police Chief search: 614-645-7671.

Go to this site for the police chief forum video:

Bad cop to go back on the streets:Why does the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) think a Columbus police officer who paid for and engaged in sex on the job and “falsified a police run,” according to news reports, should go back out on the streets? “Officer” Randall Mayhew appealed his firing for his crimes and his FOP arbitrator decided it was OK to foist this criminal back on the community. We are sure there are other decent non-corrupt people on the police force to take his old job, or those who could be recruited. Listen, Mayor Ginther and Police Chief Quinlan and Columbus Safety Director Ned Pettus and FOP – the people of Columbus do not appreciate being thrown behind bars for our crimes while members of the POLICE who are charged to “Serve and Protect” us are allowed to break the law and be free to go back to work.


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