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After 9 months, nearly half of lateral transfers into Columbus police have left

CrimeTracker 10 found that some of the new officers are no longer with the department.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — One way the City of Columbus is acquiring new police officers is by hiring them from other departments. That's something the city had never done before last fall.

For the first time in its history, the Columbus Division of Police hired 11 officers from outside agencies.

“Our commitment is to have more police officers on the street by the end of 2024 than we have ever had before,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

The city was hoping to have 50 graduate from its first-ever Columbus police lateral transfer class in October. Eleven went through the program and 10 graduated — now, just six are left.

“It's all hands on deck in cities across the country are really struggling to bring in recruitment and bring new folks into law enforcement. We need to do all of the above,” Ginther explained.

CrimeTracker 10 has detailed the backgrounds of some of those lateral transfer officers.

As a sworn police officer, one admitted they had been arrested for shoplifting. One did not had a valid driver's license for a period time while in a department. One admitted to work-related discipline for an incident in 1999 involving a prostitute while serving overseas, and another admitted to not paying federal taxes for three years and also experimenting with marijuana after graduating from the academy to "see what it was like."

In March, CrimeTracker reported that three of the 10 graduates left, one saying in an exit interview, "I expected hiccups since it is a new program, but the drama and attitude towards our class was unacceptable."

The division is budgeted to have 1,996 sworn officers, but only have 1,779. That's a difference of more than 200 officers.

So far this year, Columbus police have hired 30 officers, but 62 have left altogether.

“It's not just the hiring, it is the retention too. It is a multi-faceted issue,” Columbus Police Deputy Chief Nick Konves said.

While Columbus police had scheduled the second lateral transfer class to begin in January 2023, it will now start in mid-August. There are currently two lateral transfers signed up for that class.

“The lateral program is just another pipeline in. We will take any pipeline that will get us quality candidates in the door to be Columbus police officers,” Konves said.

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