Columbus police announce restructuring, VICE unit replacement

File Photo - Columbus Police (WBNS-10TV)

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A major restructuring of the Columbus Division of Police is underway.

Interim Chief Thomas Quinlan made the announcement Monday morning.

"We looked at top down," hes said. "Everything was on the table, including the chief's office."

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The biggest change may be the creation of a new unit to replace VICE -- which focused on drug and prostitution crimes.

That division was disbanded months ago after allegations of lax supervision and rogue officer behavior.

The new unit is called PACT - Police And Community Together. One of the key changes in this unit will be that only uniformed officers can make any arrest.

The reorganization also calls for an FBI public corruption task force officer who will be an experienced criminal investigator charged with holding officers accountable.

Also under the new plan will be a watch commander on every shift, a public accountability subdivision, cadet program, community education officer and redesigned criminal investigations division.

"The laws change, the laws evolve. the courts, the way they apply and interpret laws change," Quinlan said. "The residents, the community, what they want from, what their expectations, demands are from the police service we provide changes. So we cannot afford as a law enforcement agency to maintain the status quo. We have to change based on what their expectations are."

The department is changing its mission and its core values.

Before, the value followed the acronym PRIDE - professionalism, respect, integrity, discipline and enthusiasm.

The new acronym is I CARE - integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence.

These changes are all happening now, despite the fact that the search is still on for a permanent police chief.

"No matter who the chief is, they're going to have to respond to what the community demands and expectations are," Quinlan said. "We're already meeting those. So, if a new chief comes in from outside, they will be picking up what we're already doing and moving on because this is what the community wants, this is what the community deserves, and this is what our new mission is -- serve our community."