When local media reported Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was stepping downon Thursday, January 28, many Columbus residents were relieved and hopeful. The Columbus Dispatch quoted Mayor Andy Ginther’s rationale for asking the chief to leave: “Columbus residents have lost faith in him and in the division's ability to change on its own.” Ginther demoted former Chief Quinlan back to deputy chief.

Ohio’s capital city experienced a tumultuous year of social justice protests and the continued exposure of the Columbus Division of Police’s racist and violent activities. Black Lives Matter protests starting with George Floyd’s murder by police in the spring were marred by numerous incidents of excessive police violence and over-charging protesters – resulting in promises from city government that things would change.

“Quinlan represents the status quo, which is evident when you look at the lack of impactful changes he failed to make,” a current Columbus police officer noted, “the City of Columbus and the Division of Police are worse off now than when he took over.” 

Two Black men were shot and killed by Columbus police in controversial incidents in late 2020, proving to most critics that the way the police were behaving had not changed.

Quinlan was in the job not quite two years, after being chosen in the city’s first national search for a new police chief. Quinlan is white and had been on the force for decades. He was ultimately chosen over a Black candidate, former Seattle police assistant chief Perry Tarrant.

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime advocate for reform within the Columbus Division of Police states, “Perry Tarrant has stated he will accept the position as police chief for the Columbus Division of Police. There is no need for spending upwards of $100,000 of taxpayer dollars to a consultant firm on another national search for the next chief of police. No more committees, public meetings and wasting tax dollars that can be better spent on those in need during these trying times.”              

WCMH TV reported this morning that Mr. Tarrant issued a statement stating, “Columbus is a city in need of transformation. I was interested in the position last year and I would still like to be part of that transformation now."   

Motil says, “Perry Tarrant was the overwhelming choice of social justice faith leaders and the community at large in 2019, and much more qualified for the job but was erringly passed over. Mayor Ginther now has a chance to rectify his oversight and appoint Perry Tarrant immediately. The safety of Columbus citizens from rogue police officers and the rebuilding of a culture within the CPD cannot wait another day. Tarrant is someone who can restore the trust of this community and make a much-needed organizational culture change within the department. Mr. Tarrant has already been vetted and still remains the best choice as the next chief of police.”       

Motil states that, “In 2016 Perry Tarrant was named the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives which has 3,000 members, he rose through the ranks as an officer and then a member of the SWAT team and canine unit. He also supervised internal affairs, traffic, SWAT and other operations. He served as a lieutenant, and as a captain he was a specialized response and intervention division commander. He also supervised or commanded Criminal Investigations, Emergency Management and Homeland Security-Counterterrorism. Mr. Tarrant was part of a White House law enforcement advisory committee created by President Obama and chaired by then Vice-President Biden. As part of that committee, Mr. Tarrant presented before Congress on civil rights, hate crimes, community policing, use of force and 21st century policing. He is considered a subject matter expert in officer involved shootings and uses of force.”

“In 2015 he was hired by the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) police chief as an assistant police chief to assist in the housecleaning of four commanders in an effort to address the demands of the Departments of Justices consent decree with the (SPD). The consent decree was due to the DOJ findings in 2011 that the SPD had engaged in excessive force and exhibited patterns of bias. Sound familiar?”

Ms. Hood, Bishop Washington, Pastor Jeffrey Kee, Tiffany White, Jon Beard, Reverend Ahrens, Melissa McFadden, Cathy Levine, Paisha Thomas, Donell Muhammad and Joe Motil. It was taken on Livingston Avenue in 2019 during a lobbying effort for Perry Tarrant.