City of Columbus looks to give residents voice in new police chief hiring


COLUMBUS, Ohio - If you live in Columbus and thought your voice would never be heard, now is your time to speak up.

"This is something that's an important issue to me," Sean Powers said.

Powers says he hesitated, at first, coming to Wednesday night's meeting, which is the first of six public forums for the citizens of Columbus to have direct input on the city's hiring of a new police chief. It's an effort spearheaded by an advisory committee appointed by Mayor Andrew Ginther.

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"It's a process I've never seen in my career," Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said.

Baldwin, who served 31 years with CPD, is one of eight on the committee. He says now is the time for communities to get involved.

"Communities that want their voice heard, this is their opportunity," he said.

Wednesday's meeting asked for peoples' opinions on areas of focus and what needs to be a priority for the new chief. Also, when it comes to a mixed demographic, people shared thoughts about various communities and cultures and how that might play a role in the new hire.

Powers says these aren't new topics, but the conversation is needed.

At the end of the meeting, people filled out a nine-question survey. Those answers will go back to the committee and help with the new hire. If you can't be at a meeting you can still be involved.

People can find that same survey here.

Powers hopes all the information will be taken seriously and it will help to promote change within the Columbus Police Department.

Sheriff Baldwin says that's the goal and the more people who take part the better the outcome will be.

"Come out and let us know," he said. "Let us know what is important to you and important to your community and help us make that decision."

The other public forums will be:

June 4 - 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Westgate Recreation Center
455 South Westgate Ave.

June 18 - 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Reeb Avenue Community Dinner and Engagement Forum
280 Reeb Ave.

June 19 - 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Marion Franklin High School
1265 Koebel Rd.

June 25 - 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The Columbus Urban League
788 Mt. Vernon Ave.

June 27 - 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
St. Stephen's Community House
1500 East 17th Ave.