Memo from interim chief details restructuring plan for Columbus Division of Police


COLUMBUS – In an internal memo sent to Columbus Division of Police officers and staffers, Interim Police Chief Thomas Quinlan detailed his plan restructure CPD into a “more community centered and service oriented approach.”

The internal departmental email is dated April 24 and calls for a re-naming and restructuring of bureaus and subdivisions. The memo also addresses concerns about staff reductions and the restructuring of responsibility within CPD.

The memo cautions that “the plan is not ready for public release and I caution anyone from sharing this publicly until authorized to do so.” The Columbus Division of Police released the memo to 10TV News Tuesday following an open records request.

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“My requirements for a new mission statement had to include a community centered and service oriented approach. The core values must shape how we deliver our services and must begin with integrity over all else.”

Interim chief Quinlan dismantled the vice unit after a series of controversies erupted last summer.

They began with the arrests of Stormy Daniels and two other women in July for violating a rarely cited “no contact” law that bars physical contact between patrons and dancers. The charges against Daniels and dozens of other women were later dropped after the city attorney’s office said the officers could not act as patrons under the law, known as the “Community Defense Act.”

The city has already settled one lawsuit filed by the two women – Brittany Walters and Amanda Panda – who were arrested alongside Daniels in July.

Daniels has a separate lawsuit that is still pending. And earlier this month, another federal lawsuit alleges that some strippers were targeted by vice officers Steve Rosser and Whitney Lancaster. The lawsuit alleges that Rosser threatened to “file a bunch of tickets” against Kahoots Gentlemen’s Club unless a bouncer he allegedly knew was rehired. Both Lancaster and Rosser were removed of their duties and assigned to desk duty. The FBI is still investigating the issue.

Separately, vice officer Andrew Mitchell faces federal charges that he abused his police powers. Federal prosecutors allege that he coaxed women into sex acts under the threat of arrest. They also allege that he rented to known prostitutes and would allow them to forgo paying rent in exchange for sex and that he allegedly concealed or destroyed potential evidence against him and impaired the FBI’s investigation.

Mitchell is also facing state charges of murder and manslaughter related to the fatal shooting of Donna Castleberry during an alleged prostitution sting last August. His defense attorney has said Mitchell was stabbed in the hand and responded with deadly force. But Castleberry’s family has cried foul – alleging that Mitchell was already the focus of a criminal investigation by his own department and should not have been on active duty the day Castleberry was killed.

A 10 Investigates special report last fall detailed how police had made 630 police runs to rental properties that Mitchell owned dating back to 2013.

Under Quinlan’s new plan, the Narcotics Bureau – which formerly housed the vice unit – will be renamed the Drug Enforcement Bureau.

Quinlan’s memo also says that “plans to address vice related complaints have been formulated but will not be released at this time… ”

A CPD spokeswoman said the department would not have a comment on the proposals Tuesday.

Below is the full memo:

While I am not planning to outline the entire set of changes and modifications here, I will provide personnel with an overview so you have a better understanding of what changes to expect shortly within your own work environment. This plan is not ready for public release and I caution anyone from sharing this publicly until authorized to do so.

My requirements for a new Mission Statement had to include a community centered and service oriented approach. The core values must shape how we deliver our services and must begin with integrity over all else.

In a nutshell: (See Organization Chart below for reference)

  • First question on everyone’s mind I can guess is staff reductions and new assignments. The plan is designed to allow for newly created assignments to be filled using attrition to the extent possible. There is a concerted effort to not abolish additional assignments.
  • Patrol Subdivision will be led by DC Mike Woods. Patrol has been consolidated into one sub-division.
    • Commanders will be looking at the staffing of each Patrol Bureau with priority given to staffing patrol while seeking new approaches to reduce officer workloads and increase supervisory availability. Filling the remaining areas of the Division will be weighed against Patrol’s needs.
  • A Community Services Sub-Division was created which will include a Community Response Bureau (formerly SRB), Training, and an Employee Wellness Bureau w/HR; Property Crimes might be shifted to this subdivision. Acting DC Knight will lead this subdivision.
  • Investigative subdivision will become a Criminal Investigations Sub-Division (led by DC Tim Becker) and will now include a major crimes bureau; property crimes will transition to generalist detectives and moved to a new sub-division.
  • Administrative will become the Public Accountability Sub-Division led by DC Rich Bash and include Internal Affairs, Professional Standards, and Fiscal.
  • Some Units will be re-located to a new reporting location but this will also be minimized where possible.
  • Narcotics Bureau, led by Cmdr. Echenrode, will become a Drug Enforcement Bureau with In/Tac becoming a Drug Interdiction Section. Criminal Intelligence Unit will move to the Drug Enforcement Bureau.
  • The Mobile Crisis Response Teams will become permanent assignments and will be increased. There are numerous other assignments being created to be filled as staffing permits.
  • Plans to address Vice related complaints has been formulated but will not be released at this time, please be patient for this announcement.
  • There is a focus on employee wellness in this new plan with many new policies and practices to be implemented that I anticipated being positively received.
  • There are many more improvements and revisions to the manner we deliver police services to the community; more information will follow.
  • Each Commander & Deputy Chief was offered an opportunity to provide an innovative idea that if they were chief, what policy or plan would they implement. The responses were well designed and consistent with the direction our division should be aiming. Most of the innovation ideas have been approved for implementation. A full listing of these will be announced once the requisite staff work is complete and ready for implementation.

I ask for everyone’s patience as we complete the necessary staff work, labor relations, and budgeting to provide for implementation of these improvements. As benchmarks are reached I will continue to share details with you to minimize the stress associated with wondering what to expect next. I ask that you not overlook the reality that a separate outside consultant (Matrix) and the Mayor’s Safety Commission are both dissecting the organization looking for ways to change how we perform our duties. To the extent possible I am working very diligently to demonstrate the improvements we can make internally will surpass any others offered. Thank you for your time reading this material. I ask you to support the Division’s General Staff as we forge a path forward for the Division of Police.

The below Organizational Chart is an early visual reference as planning continues. What you see in the chart is subject to change as we refine the plan and work with the Unions on any labor issues raised. I hope this email will be informative and help reduce the rumors and extraneous noise buzzing around decisions stemming from the Executive Staff Retreat.

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